SAN ANTONIO – The Sam Houston State Bearkats had the right formula on Friday as they shut out UIW in a pair of games to open up Southland Conference play at Cardinals Field.
Tayler Atkinson and Lindsey McLeod did not allow a run in the doubleheader sweep for the Kats (10-11, 2-0 SLC) who are 2-0 to start league play for the first time since 2012. That effort, coupled with a 13-run outburst for the day got the job done for Sam Houston, who will go after the series sweep on Saturday.
Game 1 – Box Score
Sam Houston 3, UIW 0
Tayler Atkinson and Lindsey McLeod combined to allow just five hits and no runs as the Bearkats shut out UIW in the conference opener.
The Bearkats got a run in the second and two more in the third, which was plenty for the Kats’ pitching duo. Atkinson picked up her third win of the season after tossing 5.0 innings in the start, allowing just four hits and not allowing a walk before turning things over to McLeod who tossed the final two frames to earn her first save.
The Kats gave Atkinson a lead to work with in the top of the second with a run. Megan Crosby singled on the first pitch of the inning to start it off and after a sacrifice bunt from Ashley Goetz, Tiffany Thompson moved Crosby up to third with a base hit. That set things up for Katie Andrie, who gave the Kats a 1-0 lead with the first of her two RBI in the game on a sacrifice fly to center field.
Sam Houston gave itself some breathing room in four innings later with a two-out rally. A sacrifice fly and a caught stealing erased a leadoff walk and cleared the bases, but Crosby reached on a two-out Cardinal error and that got things going for the Kats. The error was followed by three consecutive walks, the third going to Andrie with the bases loaded to score pinch runner Ashley Kopps. A second error followed, this off the bat of Kaitlynn Dawson, to get the second run across and give the Kats a 3-0 lead.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Crosby had a pair of hits and scored a run, while Andrie had a pair of RBI and a hit in three plate appearances. Five Bearkats picked up hits in the game, which was enough for the duo of Atkinson and Lindsey McLeod as they combined to toss a shutout.
Game 2 – Box Score
Sam Houston 10, UIW 0 (5 innings)
The Bearkat bats broke out in a big way in the final three innings to close out a doubleheader sweep with a 10-0, five-inning win in the nightcap.
Tori Koerselman and Dawson each had three RBI apiece as the Kats scored all 10 of their runs in the final three frames. McLeod picked up right where she left off in game one, striking out five and allowing just four hits in going the full 5.0 innings for her fourth win of the season.
It took just one big swing to swing the momentum in the Bearkats favor in the third after Sam Houston had managed just one base runner in the first two frames. A pair of two-out singles from Koerselman and Crosby kept alive an inning that started with a pair of ground outs and then Dawson opened it up in a hurry, blasting a 2-2 pitch out to straightaway center field for a three-run homer to put the Kats out in front.
After McLeod stranded a runner in the fourth, Sam Houston tacked on three more runs on three hits and a pair of UIW errors. The first error started the rally off as Goetz reached to lead off the inning and two batters later moved to second on a base hit by Andrie. Hannan Marino then hit a pinch-hit RBI single to up the lead to 4-0 and two batters later Koerselman singled to left on a 2-0 pitch to score Andrie. Koerselman’s speed set up the final run of the inning as she stole second base and an errant throw allowed Samantha Belongia to score from third.
Dawson got things going with a leadoff double in the fifth and scored two batters later on a ground out by Goetz to second base. A single by Andrie and a walk to Thompson loaded the bases and Megan McDonald made it an 8-0 advantage when she drew a free pass to pick up an RBI. The Kats then added two more on a fielder’s choice from Koerselman and McLeod made that stand up an inning later when she shut the door with a perfect bottom of the fifth.
Sam Houston will go for the series sweep on Sunday afternoon when it takes on the Cardinals in the finale. First pitch is set for noon.