Lake Charles, La. -  Third baseman Shelbi Tucker singled, reached third on a passed ball then scored on a ground ball by outfielder Calli Wood for the winning run in the first extra inning as Sam Houston State defeated McNeese State 6-5 in a Southland Conference softball game Friday night.

The victory continued the Bearkats' winning ways and moved SHSU head coach within one win of an NCAA Division I softball milestone.

The Kat softball team, who opened the season 1-13, have won 17 of their last 20 games to up their season record to 18-16. McNeese State, which now stands 24-11 for the season and 7-2 in league play, came into Friday's contest in first place in the Southland.

Bearkat skipper Bob Brock earned his 999th victory as a head coach in a 27-year career at Sam Houston, Texas A&M and Baylor. One more win will make him the 22nd head coach in NCAA Division I softball to chalk up 1,000 career victories.

Home runs by Kim Damian, Tucker and Hillary Adams accounted for Sam Houston's five runs in regulation play. The Bearkats led 2-0 after Damian's lead-off solo shot in the first inning a Tucker's two-run homer in the third inning.

McNeese scored a  run in both the bottom of the third and fourth inning. Adam's two-run home to center field put the Kats up 5-2. But the Cowgirls scored three runs on two Bearkat errors and one hit to tie the contest in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Tomi Garrison pitched the first six innings, then freshman Meme Quinn took over in the seventh and earned the victory in the circle.

Sam Houston and McNeese State will meet in the second and final game of the series at 12 noon Saturday.