HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats out-hit Central Arkansas in the series finale, but could not overcome a number of miscues early on as the Bears pulled out a 5-3 win on Saturday at the Bearkat Softball Complex.
Tori Koerselman finished 3-for-4 with her first home run of the year and the Kats (14-16, 5-4 SLC) had eight hits for the game, but committed three errors in the first three frames that led to four of UCA’s (12-22, 3-6 SLC) five runs being unearned
Tayler Atkinson took the loss, allowing all five runs – just one earned – in 3.0 innings in the circle. She gave way to Lindsey McLeod who followed her 11-strikeout performance on Friday with another 4.0 innings of scoreless relief, punching out four hitters and allowing just two hits in giving the Kats a chance to fight back.
But the UCA pitching tandem of Kailla Searcy and Kayla Gomness did just enough to keep Sam Houston at bay. Searcy struck out two and scattered six hits in 4.2 innings to earn the win, while Gomness earned her second save of the season with 2.1 innings of relief.
Koerselman gave Sam Houston an early 1-0 lead, connecting on the second pitch she saw from Searcy for a solo home run to center field, her first long ball of the year.
An error by Atkinson to open up the second gave UCA something to work with and they took advantage when Bailey Reynolds took Atkinson deep for a two-run homer to push the Bears ahead 2-1.
Sam Houston responded in its half of the inning, with a little help from the Bears’ defense. A four-pitch walk to Megan Crosby opened the frame and Ashley Goetz laid down a sacrifice bunt one batter later, but UCA committed a pair of errors on the play and the Kats had runners on second and third with nobody out. They got a run home on a ground out by Megan McDonald, but Searcy managed to keep Goetz on third by retiring each of the next two hitters.
The Kats returned the favor an inning later, committing a pair of errors as well that led to UCA runs. The Bears used two singles and a walk to load the sacks with nobody out and got a run home on a sacrifice fly from Searcy. UCA then tried to steal a run when Cylla Hill tried to get caught in a rundown between first and second, but the Kats mishandled the play, committing two errors that allowed a pair of runs to cross and up the UCA lead to 5-2.
No midweek games are on the schedule for the upcoming week, so the Kats get back into action on Friday when they open up a three-game series against league rival Stephen F. Austin. The teams will play a doubleheader on the first day of the series with Game 1 set to start at 3 p.m., followed by the series finale on Saturday beginning at 3 p.m.