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April 19, 2014

SHSU SOFTBALL — Bearkats get mixed results, split doubleheader against Abilene Christian

HUNTSVILLE — Coming into the doubleheader with Abilene Christian, Sam Houston State had a 3-0 record against the Wildcats.

Though the wins came in tournaments played earlier in the season, the Bearkats believed they could sweep Friday’s action.

Sam Houston had to settle with a split after winning the first game 7-1, then losing the night cap 4-2.

“I thought the first game, we really came out and played well,” Bearkat coach Bob Brock said.

In the first game, Sam Houston got quality pitching from starter Shelby Lancaster, who went five innings and got her eighth win of the season.

Lancaster only gave up a run and didn't walk a single batter.

“I just try and come out here and get them to chase my drop balls,” Lancaster said. “They're pretty tough hitters, but you’ve got to focus on each batter.”

The Bearkats made a key defensive play that prevented Abilene Christian (6-6 SLC, 17-23 overall) from putting together a threat to score.

With two outs in the top of the second, right fielder Ashley Nolan, who went 1-for-2 in the first game, hit a drive that went off the wall in left-center-field.

Nolan tried to extend it to a double, but Amy Pelton threw her out at second to end the inning.

That allowed Sam Houston to strike in the bottom of the second for a 1-0 lead.

Catcher Tiffany Castillo reached second base on a throwing error by shortstop Demi McNulty and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Sarah Allison.

Afterward, second baseman Alyssa Coggins reached on a fielder's choice and tagged to second on a bunt by Pelton.

Castillo would scored from third after the speedy center fielder Jessica Slater laid down a perfect bunt and beat out the throw at first base.

Abilene Christian responded swiftly in the top of the third when first baseman Kyla Simmons launched a solo shot to left field to knot it up at 1.

Sam Houston answered with a six run explosion in the bottom of the third to make 7-1.

Gray led off the inning with a towering solo shot that went just off the foul pole to make it 2-1.

“I really wasn't looking for anything in particular,” Gray said. “I'm just glad to be hitting again to be honest.”

A couple batters later, Tiffany Castillo launched a three-run moonshot over the left-field wall.

“I was looking for my pitch,” Castillo said. “I like high pitches and I just hit it.”

The Bearkats added another run on an error to cap the inning.

Sam Houston continued to dominate defensively as well.

With two outs in the top of the fifth, Tori Valdivia blooped one to right field, but Cecilia Castillo made a sliding catch to rob her of a hit and end the inning.

Sam Houston couldn't carry the momentum into the second game as missed opportunities and offensive woes led to a 4-2 loss to the Wildcats.

Wildcats' starting pitcher Peyton Mosley, who secured her fifth win of the season for Abilene, went the distance and gave up only one earned run on four hits and struck out two.

Even though the Wildcats took a 2-1 advantage in the top of the second inning on a two-run RBI single by Buckley, Sam Houston responded in the bottom of the inning and tied it up at 2 on a sacrifice fly by Slater.

Both teams left four runners on base and the lack of timely hits in crucial situations after the second inning came back to haunt the Bearkats.

Sam Houston had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the third inning when Tiffany Castillo hit a double that landed just inside the foul line.

Castillo advanced to third on a wild pitch by Mosley.

However, Mosley left her stranded as she got consecutive pop ups by Adams and Allison to end the threat.

Sam Houston had another opportunity in the bottom of the fifth inning when Cecilia Castillo issued a two-out walk.

With her sister Tiffany at the plate, Cecilia was thrown out at second base on a steal attempt to end the threat.

Those crucial innings allowed the Wildcats to break it open in the top of the seventh on a two-run double by Madison Buckley to make it 4-2.

“We just couldn't seem to get any offense going,” Brock said. ““We just seemed to be a little bit flat and I thought Haley Baros (who went the distance and suffered the loss) pitched an excellent ball game.”

“We will have to play a little bit better,” Brock added. “I don't think we're in that tournament yet. We need to win some more ball games.”

The Bearkats aim to do just that today at noon in the rubber match at the Bearkat Softball Complex.

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Texas Department of Public Safety troopers work to measure out and recreate the scene of a fatal accident at the intersection of Interstate 45 and Highway 30 on Thursday afternoon. The accident happened on June 8 when a Huntsville man was struck and killed by a car while trying to cross I-45.

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