HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkat softball team split a pair of games with the Northwestern State Lady Demons on Friday, opening up Southland Conference play at the Bearkat Softball Complex.
Senior pitcher Lindsey McLeod tossed her second no-hitter of the season, striking out 11 in the first game of the doubleheader. The second game of the day took 10 innings for a winner to arise, with Northwestern State scoring two in the ninth to force extra frames before striking for two more in the 10th to square the series.
The Kats will be back in action against the Lady Demons to finish the conclusion of the series at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday at the Bearkat Softball Complex.
GAME 1 (Box Score)
Sam Houston State 6, Northwestern State 0
Just one week after tossing a five-inning perfect game against UT Martin, McLeod pulled off a similar feat again, throwing a seven-inning no-hitter in the series opener. She struck out 11 and now needs just 11 strikeouts to take sole possession of the career strikeout record at SHSU.
It only took one inning of damage for the Kats, plating six runs off of five hits and two errors in the bottom of the third. Junior Hunter Ervin got the party started with a single to left field. Thompson, McDonald and White also notched singles.
A three-run shot over the right field wall from freshman third baseman Kyndal Kutac, her sixth of the season, highlighted of the inning. This put the Kats up 6-0 and would be all the insurance they needed to get their first win in SLC play.
GAME 2 (Box Score)
Northwestern State 6, Sam Houston State 4 (10 inn.)
The second game of the day turned in to a marathon and it was Northwestern State who was able to outlast SHSU, 6-4, to even things up heading into Sunday's rubber match.
Sophomore pitcher Annie Bailey was given the start but would only pitch 3.1 innings, leaving after the Lady Demons sent a solo home run out to left field. Freshman Regan Dunn would then take over in the circle, pitching 3.2 innings with three runs, five hits and five strikeouts.
Dunn’s night would come to an end though after the Lady Demons tied up the ballgame 4-4 off a couple of hits in the top of the seventh. Junior pitcher Karina Sanchez took over in the top of the eighth and was given the loss, pitching 3.0 innings with three hits and two runs.
Offensively the Kats had eight hits. They plated their first three runs in the bottom of the fifth when Ashley Goetz started the inning off with a single to left field. Tiffany Thompson would then hit a RBI double down the left field line, and a walk from Megan McDonald and another double to center field from Brooke Malia would give the Kats the lead, 3-2.
Malia added on to the Kat’s lead with a solo shot in the top of the sixth that would prove to be a vital insurance run for the Kats, after a two-run seventh inning for Northwestern State tied the ball game up four-apiece.
The game stayed tied 4-4 until the top of the 10th inning when the Demons got a few runners on base from an error and a single. A two-run double would plate two runs for the Lady Demons, which proved to be enough for pitcher Mikayla Brown to hold the lead in the bottom half of the inning. The Kats couldn’t rally in the bottom of the 10th, and would fall to the Demons, 6-4.