HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats got a pair of brilliant pitching outings and came out with a split of a league doubleheader on Friday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the Bearkat Softball Complex.
The Kats (17-21, 8-9 SLC) got complete games from both Tayler Atkinson and Lindsey McLeod, allowing just one run between them in 14 innings of play, but that one run came in the top of the seventh of Game 1 and proved to be just enough for the Islanders (7-27, 2-12 SLC) to squeak out the win in the opener.
McLeod followed that up by tying her season high in strikeouts for the second time this year, punching out 11 Islanders without a walk in a complete-game shutout. She got just enough offense in Game 2 to move to 7-5 on the year with Tiffany Thompson providing a pair of hits and both Emily Bounds and Megan Crosby driving in runs in the 2-0 win.
Sam Houston will go for the series win on Saturday against the Islanders. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
Game 1 – Box Score
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 1, Sam Houston 0
Atkinson struck out six and held the Islanders without a hit for the first 6.1 innings of the game before Texas A&M-Corpus Christi scratched across a run to take the series opener.
The senior right-hander retired the first eight hitters she faced to open the game and allowed just three base runners going into the seventh before Megan Mitchell provided Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with their only run of the day with a two-out RBI single.
The Islanders, meanwhile, got a complete-game effort in the circle as well with Liz Carter punching out five hitters and allowing just two hits of her own in earning her sixth win of the year.
The Kats got their first base runner of the day to open the second when Crosby worked a six-pitch walk to open the frame. She swiped second to move into scoring position and a passed ball had her at third with just one out, but a hard-hit line drive from Megan McDonald found the glove of Aspen Auger at third base and Carter followed that with a strikeout of Ashley Goetz to keep the game scoreless.
Sam Houston got another leadoff hitter on base when Kaitlynn Dawson delivered the game’s first hit with a sure single back up the middle off of Carter to open the fifth. A sacrifice bunt by McDonald moved pinch runner Casey Sax into scoring position, but that was as close as the Kats would get in the inning as Carter coaxed pop ups from each of the next two hitters she faced to prevent any damage.
Koerselman’s got her first hit of the day with one out in the sixth and promptly stole second base to put the pressure on the Islanders. But Carter avoided any consequence again, sandwiching a strikeout and a fielder’s choice around a two-out walk to Codi Carpenter.
Atkinson worked around a two-base error in the top of the sixth and got the first out of the seventh, but an infield hit from Augerwith one out broke up her no-hitter and a slow grounder to shortstop one batter later moved Auger up a base and brought in a pinch runner. Mitchell then delivered the game-winning hit, lining a 2-2 pitch back up the middle to score the game’s lone run.
Game 2 – Box Score
Sam Houston 2, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 0
After a tough loss in the day’s opener, the Kats rebounded behind some early offense and a dominating performance from McLeod.
The sophomore tied her career high by striking out 11 Islanders in the second contest, not issuing a walk while scattering just three singles. She retired eight of the final nine hitters she faced, including a strikeout of Lexi Shaw for the final out of the game. That effort pushed her to 7-5 on the year and dropped her opponent’s batting average to a league-low mark of .190.
Offensively, Sam Houston finished with six hits for the game, but bunched five of them together in the first three frames against TAMUCC starter Kandace Johnson. That early push helped the Kats tally a pair of runs, which was more than enough for McLeod.
The Kats could not do anything with Thompson’s first hit of the day in the opening frame, but were able to take advantage of a one-out single from McDonald an inning later. The freshman beat out an infield hit to reach base and stole second with Casey Kauder at the plate. A grounder from Kauder advanced her another base and Bounds gave the Kats a 1-0 lead when she scored McDonald from third with a sure single to left field with two outs.
McLeod stranded an Islander on base in the top of the third and the Kats rewarded her with another run on the board in the bottom half of the inning. This time Sam Houston was able to take advantage of Thompson’s second consecutive one-out single. Another stolen base put her into scoring position and Crosby was the benefactor, shooting a double into the left-field corner to up the lead to 2-0.
The Islanders got good relief work from Carter who entered with two outs in the third as she allowed just one hit to the Kats the rest of the way, but they were not ever able to put anything together on their own side. Their best threat came in their final at-bat when Carter reached on a one-out single to bring the tying run to the plate; however, McLeod made quick work of the next two TAMUCC hitters she faced, getting Candice Hadd to ground out before stiking out Shaw swinging to end the game.