BEAUMONT – The Sam Houston State Bearkats went a full 10 innings to get a win in the opening game of a doubleheader against Lamar, but the Cardinals rebounded for a 4-2 win in the nightcap to split the pair on Friday at the Lamar Softball Complex.
The Bearkats got the better of the Cardinals in a pitching duel to open the series, outlasting the Cardinals in what was Sam Houston’s first extra-inning game of the season as Hannah Marino provided the go-ahead hit in the top of the 10th for the win.
Lamar responded in the day’s finale, putting four runs up in the middle innings and making that stand up behind a complete game from Laura Napoli to force a rubber match on Sunday.
The Bearkats will close out their series with the Cardinals on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.
Game 1 – Box Score
Sam Houston 1, Lamar 0 (10 innings)
It was no easy task for the Bearkats to pick up the win in the day’s opener, but clutch pitching and late clutch hitting proved to be just the trick they needed.
Hannah Marino’s pinch-hit single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th provided the game’s lone run, and Tayler Atkinson and Lindsey McLeod were stellar in keeping the Cardinals off the board for the 10-ining affair.
Atkinson took a no-decision despite 6.1 innings of scoreless work. The senior allowed just three hits and struck out three without a walk, allowing just two base runners in the game before the Cardinals (19-20, 9-5 SLC) put together a threat in the bottom of the seventh.
From there, McLeod took over, pitching out of a one-out jam in the seventh to force extra innings and striking out three in 3.2 scoreless frames to move to 6-4 on the year with the win.
That pitching effort spoiled an otherwise outstanding effort from Lamar starter Ciara Luna who tossed all 10 innings for the Cardinals, striking out 11 and not walking a batter.
The Kats (16-19, 7-7 SLC) managed just seven hits off of Luna, spreading them out with seven different players reaching safely. Still, it was Marino who delivered the big blow in the 10th to score pinch runner Ashley Kopps and give the Bearkats their first extra-inning shutout win since 2013.
The Kats got a threat going in its half of the fourth with Kaitlynn Dawson opening the inning with a single. Casey Sax pinch ran and advanced to third two batters later after a sacrifice bunt and a single by Codi Carpenter. But with Ashley Goetz at the plate, Carpenter was thrown out at second trying to steal and then Luna got Goetz on strikes to end the threat.
Sam Houston had another golden opportunity in the fifth, getting Katie Andrie into scoring position with two outs after a Lamar error and ground out. Tori Koerselman then shot a single into center field, but Andrie was thrown out at home plate as the potential go-ahead run to keep the game scoreless.
Lamar nearly ended it in regulation, finally putting together something against Atkinson after the righty allowed just one hit in six innings of work. But after retiring the first hitter of the inning, Sable Hankins doubled to right center and Kelly Meeuwsen singled to put runners on second and third. The Kats then went to the pen for Lindsey McLeod who kept the runners in place with a pop up from Shelby Henderson before punching out Shelby Hughston to send the game to the eighth.
With the international tiebreaker going into effect in the 10th, the Kats put themselves in immediate scoring position as Goetz bunted Carpenter up to third. After Luna got Casey Kauder on strikes, Sam Houston turned to Hannah Marino off the bench and the senior delivered a go-ahead single back up the middle on a 1-1 pitch to give Sam Houston a 1-0 advantage.
Lamar did not make it easy in its half of the 10th, using a one-out bunt single and a two-out walk to load the bases. But that was as far as they would get as McLeod got Ashley McDowell to fly out to center field with the sacks loaded for the game’s final out.
Game 2 – Box Score
Lamar 4, Sam Houston 2
The Cardinals got their second complete game of the day and made the most of two scoring innings to even things up with a win in the day’s finale.
Carpenter had a pair of hits and an RBI for the Bearkats, but the Cards were able to touch up Sam Houston starter Kaitlynn Dawson for three runs in the third in handing the freshman her fourth loss of the season. Atkinson and McLeod each pitched in relief with Atkinson allowing just one run in 3.1 innings in her second appearance of the day.
Meanwhile, Napoli went the distance for Lamar, earning her team-best ninth win of the season. The Cardinal righty scattered five hits, striking out four and walking just one.
The Bearkats staked themselves to a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the third, thanks in part to a pair of Cardinal errors. The first miscue allowed Koerselman to reach base with one out, and after a fielder’s choice from Crosby the Kats had a pair of runners on. Carpenter then singled to pick up an RBI and a second Lamar error, this one in left field, allowed a second run to score.
The lead did not last long, though, as the Cardinals answered with a three-run bottom of the frame. A single and a walk opened things up and after a double steal, a passed ball plated the first run to make it 2-1. Brynn Baca then singled home another run to even it up, and after a single from Hankins, Meeuwsen beat out an infield single that drove in the third run of the inning to give Lamar a 3-2 edge.
Lamar added an insurance run an inning later in a frame that got going with a one-out triple from Maddy Myers. One batter later McDowell flew out to center field, deep enough to bring Myers across the plate.