HUNTSVILLE – For the second straight season the Sam Houston State softball team entered the final weekend of the season needing wins over Houston Baptist to secure a berth in the Southland Conference Tournament. And for the second straight season they got just what they needed, doing so with a sweep of a doubleheader over the Huskies on Saturday afternoon at the Bearkat Softball Complex.

Not only did the Bearkats (21-31, 12-14 SLC) clinch a postseason berth, but did it in record-setting fashion on a day that saw the team honor not only its senior class, but head coach Bob Brock, prior to the series opener.

Lindsey McLeod punched tied a SHSU single-game record with 14 strikeouts in Game 1 and then set a new single-season strikeout record with two more in saving the finale. She now has 201 strikeouts in the 2018 season, surpassing Brandi Crnkovic’s 2007 record of 200, with one more regular season game to play and the postseason.

The Kats needed every one of those strikeouts in the opener as the Kats finished off the Huskies, 1-0. They then rallied to put up a five-spot in the fifth inning, highlighted by a go-ahead, three-run homer by Codi Carpenter that proved to be the difference in a 5-3 win over the Huskies (9-33, 6-20 SLC).

Those wins meant the Kats would at least be playing for a chance to earn their way into the postseason tournament next weekend in Lake Charles, but that ticket was finalized when league-champion Nicholls picked up a 10-8 win over Lamar in the series finale in Thibodaux.

The Bearkats will close out the series and look toward the SLC tournament on Sunday afternoon with first pitch set for noon from Bearkat Softball Complex.

GAME 1 – Box Score 
Sam Houston 1, Houston Baptist 0 
The Bearkats were powered by a huge outing from Lindsey McLeod as she tied the school record for most strikeouts in a single game with 14, while a lone run in the fifth proved to be enough for the Kats to pick up the win in the doubleheader opener.

Each team’s pitcher showed off over the first 5.5 innings with McLeod recording 10 punchouts and surrendering zero hits while Houston Baptist’s Jessica Patek surrendered only two hits.

Sam Houston would finally break the stalemate in the bottom of the fifth with Kayte Martinez getting on base with a two-out blooper over the shortstop’s glove. Sheridan Fisher would push Martinez all the way around to give Sam Houston a 1-0 lead.

Houston Baptist responded quickly and in a big way in the top of the sixth with a lead-off triple by Heidi Jaquez, but McLeod locked in to retire the next three Houston Baptist batters to keep the Bearkats on top.

The Huskies got a walk to begin the final inning, but McLeod and the Sam Houston defense continued their stellar outing to retire the next three batters, striking out the final two for her 13th and 14th hitters of the match, to secure their 20th win of the season.

GAME 2 – Box Score 
Sam Houston 5, Houston Baptist 3
A five-run Sam Houston fifth inning gave the Kats all they needed to come back and steal the game to clinch the weekend series against Houston Baptist.

Annie Bailey picked up the win with 5.0 innings pitched in game two surrendering only one earned run on six hits before handing it over to McLeod for the save in the fifth.

The Huskies jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first frame after a two-out double drove in Demi Janak for Houston Baptist first run of the series. The Kats wouldn’t get their first hit until the bottom-half of the third frame when Fisher delivered a two-out single before Tiffany Thompson would join her on the base paths with a walk, but HBU’s Elliot Estes retired the next batter to keep the Huskies ahead.

Houston Baptist got their bats working again in the fourth after an error would put runners on the corners with one out. Houston Baptist would get their first run across in the inning after a close play at the plate and then a Jaquez hard-hit ball up the middle would drive in the Huskies’ third run of the day.

The Bearkats came alive in the fifth inning as the Kats loaded the bases with no outs thanks to an error, single and walk before Tiffany Thompson came up to bat. A wild pitch would push the first Bearkat run across the plate before Thompson would reach on a fielder’s choice and score another run to bring Sam Houston to within one. But the Kats weren’t done as Carpenter would come up to send a three-run bomb over the right field wall to put the Kats on top 5-3.

McLeod came in to close out the game for the Kats and clinch the weekend series as she punched out two Huskies during the process to become the new Sam Houston single-season strikeout leader.