RUSTON, La. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats rebounded from a pair of losses on the opening day of the Louisiana Tech Classic to sweep a pair of games on Day 2, run-ruling Grambling 10-0 in five innings before rallying to take down Northern Iowa, 2-1, in the finale at the Louisiana Tech Softball Complex.
Coach Bob Brock’s squad used just two pitchers on the day, getting complete games from both Tayler Atkinson and Lindsey McLeod. The Kats wasted no time getting to work against Grambling, going for eight runs in the opening frame on their way to run-ruling the Tigers for the second time this season.
Tiffany Thompson then delivered the big hit in the second game, driving in two runs with a single in the top of the sixth to push the Kats past Northern Iowa.
Game 1 - Box Score
Sam Houston 10, Grambling 0 (5 innings)
Sam Houston exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the first inning and Tayler Atkinson picked up her first win of the season as the Kats one-hit Grambling and snapped a six-game losing skid with the win over the Tigers.
Atkinson allowed just two base runners – one via walk and one via error – in the game, striking out three in 5.0 innings of work to move to 1-4 on the season. Meanwhile, the Bearkats touched up Grambling starter Alexus Brown for eight runs and drew seven walks in the game.
Six Bearkats hit safely, led by Ashley Goetz’s 2-for-3 game that included a run scored and an RBI. Tiffany Thompson scored twice and had a pair of runs driven in, while Kaitlynn Dawson delivered her fourth double of the season.
It was the second win of the season for the Kats over the Tigers with one also coming at the ULM Mardi Gras Classic on the season’s opening weekend. Both have come in run-rule fashion.
Sam Houston sent 14 hitters to the plate in the opening frame with four hitting safely and another four drawing free passes. Two Grambling errors also aided the Bearkat cause, including one off the bat of Megan Crosby as the second batter of the inning to help the Kats load the bases just three hitters in.
Goetz got the scoring started with an RBI single and both Thompson and Katie Andrie followed by picking up RBI on consecutive bases-loaded walks to make it 3-0. An RBI bunt single from Samantha Belongia made it 4-0 and Megan McDonald followed by drawing another free pass with the sacks loaded for a 5-0 Bearkat lead. Tori Koerselman then delivered another RBI single and the second error off the bat of Crosby plated another, giving the Kats a comfortable 8-0 edge after just one inning of play.
The Bearkats did not crack the scoring column again until the fourth, putting the run-rule into effect with two more runs on three hits. A one-out double from Dawson was followed by Goetz’s second single of the day to get the inning going. From there, Thompson and Hannah Marino managed to get the runs home, starting with Thompson’s RBI single and followed up three batters later when Marino drew another bases-loaded walk.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Atkinson was nearly untouchable against the Tigers on the day, no-hitting Grambling until a one-out single in the bottom of the fifth. She picked up her first win of the season with the shutout effort, lowering her ERA to 2.60 for the year.
Game 2 - Box Score
Sam Houston 2, Northern Iowa 1
The Bearkats got a clutch two-run single from Thompson and a complete-game effort by Lindsey McLeod to close out their second win of the day and even the weekend series with Northern Iowa, knocking of the Panthers 2-1.
Sam Houston fell behind 1-0 after allowing a run in the bottom of the third, but McLeod did not allow another Panther to cross home plate the remainder of the way in evening her record on the season at 2-2.
But it was Thompson who delivered the game’s biggest hit, driving in two runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth in what proved to be the game-winning hit.
UNI picked up five hits on the day, but did not have a player with a multi-hit game. Bailey Lange took the loss in a complete-game effort of her own, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out five.
Goetz was hit by a pitch to open up the top of the second, starting an early threat for the Bearkats. A sacrifice bunt from Thompson advanced her into scoring position and two batters later a bunt single from Belongia had runners on the corners with two outs. But UNI starter Bailey Lange managed to get McDonald to hit into a fielder’s choice, ending the threat and keeping the Kats off the board.
UNI was able to take advantage of a one-out walk to Courtney Krodinger in the bottom of the third, taking a 1-0 lead after three frames. A two-out single from Brittney Roby put runners at first and third, setting up Macey Wolfe who delivered an RBI single to left field. A Sam Houston error on the next batter kept the inning going with two runners in scoring position, but McLeod was able to punch out Kennedy Bailey to prevent any further damage.
Thompson continued her big day in the sixth as the Kats were finally able to get to Lange. Singles from Crosby and Codi Carpenter put Sam Houston in business, and after a sacrifice bunt from Dawson, Goetz drew a walk to load the bases with just one out. Thompson then shot a single back up the middle for her first hit of the game, scoring both Carpenter and pinch runner Ashley Kopps to give the Kats a 2-1 lead.
McLeod was one out away from closing out the game before having to stomp out one final Panther threat. After retiring the first two hitters of the inning, Brittney Krodinger singled to left field and quickly got into scoring position by stealing second. But McLeod finished it off, leaving Krodinger stranded at second by getting Brittney Roby to ground out to Thompson at shortstop.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
McLeod went the distance in the circle for the Kats, striking out two and scattering five hits on the day in her longest effort of the season. Meanwhile, Crosby finished the game 2-for-4 at the plate, while Thompson went 1-for-2 with the eventual game-winning hit in the top of the sixth.
Sam Houston will finish off the Louisiana Tech Classic on Sunday with a second meeting with Grambling. First pitch is set for 10 a.m.