RUSTON, La. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats dropped a pair of games on the opening day of the Louisiana Tech Classic on Friday, falling 6-2 to Northern Iowa and 7-1 to Louisiana Tech at the Louisiana Tech Softball Complex.
Sam Houston (2-8) only managed seven hits in the two games and were marred by big innings in both games against the Panthers and Lady Techsters. Megan Crosby had two hits on the day picked up her second home run of the season in the second game, while Kaitlynn Dawson also had a hit in each game.
Game 1 - Box Score
Northern Iowa 6, Sam Houston 2
Northern Iowa struck for three runs in the second and three more in the fifth and pulled out a 6-2 win in the Bearkats’ opener.
Five walks from three Sam Houston pitchers and nine Panther hits provided plenty of offense for UNI starting pitcher Alyssa Buchanan, who picked up her third win of the season with a complete-game effort.
Tayler Atkinson, who had allowed just two earned runs in her last 10 innings of work over three games was saddled with the loss, falling to 0-4 on the season after allowing three runs on five hits in 2+ innings of work.
The Kats’ offense picked up five hits on the day, all singles, with each of the top four spots in the lineup picking up one hit apiece.
UNI put together an early threat against Atkinson, getting a one-out single from Brittney Roby and a pair of two-out walks to load the bases. But Atkinson was able to get Bailey Lange to ground out harmlessly to shortstop to end any further threat.
The Bearkats followed that threat by quickly staking itself to an early lead in the bottom of the inning. Tori Koerselman opened the inning with a single and quickly stole second base to get into scoring position. A grounder from Megan Crosby moved her up a base, and two batters later she crossed home plate on an error by Panther third baseman Brittney Krodinger to give Sam Houston a 1-0 lead.
The Panthers quickly answered in their half of the second as Sammey Bunch started things off with a one-out double. She still stood second with two outs, but UNI had its next four hitters reach safely in scoring three runs. A hit-by-pitch and a walk loaded things up and Brittney Roby delivered a two-run double, followed by an RBI single from starting pitcher Alyssa Buchanan to put UNI ahead 3-1.
A single from Megan McDonald got things going for the Kats in the third and two batters later Crosby increased the threat with a single of her own. Both runners managed to get into scoring position with two outs and Kaitlynn Dawson cut the UNI lead to 3-2 with a sure single into left field to score McDonald.
Three walks and a single to start the inning quickly put the Bearkats in trouble in the fifth, spoiling an otherwise solid relief appearance for Lindsey McLeod who had retired each of the first six hitters she had faced. Lange drove in the first Panther run of the inning with a bases-loaded walk, prompting the Kats to go back to the pen in favor of Casey Kauder. Anna Varriano then greeted her with a single to left field, scoring Buchanan. Kauder kept the sacks loaded by retiring the next two hitters, but hit Krodinger with a pitch before Roby flew out with UNI up 6-2.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kauder turned in her best effort of the season on the mound in relief, pitching the final three frames without allowing a run after entering with the bases loaded in the fifth. She allowed three hits and struck out three while walking just one.
Fellow freshman McDonald reached base twice in her three plate appearances, singling and scoring in the third before drawing a leadoff walk in her second at-bat.
Game 2 - Box Score
Louisiana Tech 7, Sam Houston 1
Louisiana Tech got a strong outing from Krsystal De La Cruz in the circle and put five early runs on the board in picking up the win in the second game of the day for Sam Houston.
A 3-run second and a 2-run was more than enough from De La Cruz, who allowed just three hits and one run in 6.0 innings of work in moving to 3-0 on the season before giving way to Jenny Chapman who threw a perfect seventh.
The Lady Techsters got a pair of RBI from leadoff hitter Jaz Crowder and three RBI from Katie Smith offensively.
Meanwhile, Kaitlynn Dawson suffered her second loss of the season, allowing five runs – four earned – in just 2.0 frames in the circle.
Louisiana Tech broke through in the second inning against Dawson, starting the rally with a leadoff single by Taria Page and her moving to second on an illegal pitch. Two batters later Marilyn Rizzato brought her home with an RBI fielder’s choice to give Tech a 1-0 lead. A fielder’s choice put her into scoring position and Katie Smith made it 2-0 with an RBI single. Two batters later the Bearkats cost themselves a run with a two-out error that allowed Smith to score from third to make it 3-0 after two frames.
After the Kats went down in order in the top half of the inning, consecutive walks to start the Louisiana Tech half put the Lady Techsters in business. Smith delivered the inning’s big hit once again, smacking a 2-run single to left with two outs to give Tech a 5-0 advantage.
The Bearkats got two runners into scoring position in the fourth, but could not doing anything with it. Codi Carpenter led off the inning being hit by a pitch and Hannah Marino singled with two outs. Both runners moved up on an illegal pitch, but De La Cruz was able to coax a pop up from Tori Koerselman to end the threat.
Megan Crosby got the Bearkats on the board with her second home run of the season in the sixth, taking De La Cruz deep to lead off the inning and cut the lead to 5-1.
Tech got that run back and then some after the inning flipped over. Jaz Crowder followed a 1-out walk to Addison Roark with a 2-run homer down the left-field line off of McLeod to give the Lady Techsters a 7-1 lead going to the final frame.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Dawson and Marino each had singles for Sam Houston, but Crosby brought home the Kats’ lone run with her solo homer in the top of the sixth. Atkinson rebounded from a tough outing in Game 1 to toss 3.0 shutout innings against the Lady Techsters, punching out one and allowing three hits.
The Bearkats will continue the Louisiana Tech Classic with two more games on Saturday. They’ll open up the day with a 10 a.m. meeting with Grambling before a rematch with Northern Iowa at 12:30 p.m.