The Sam Houston State softball team managed to split its doubleheader after dropping the Southland Conference season opener with McNeese State at the Bearkat Softball Complex on Saturday.
The Bearkats lost the first game 4-2, but rebounded with a 3-2 victory against the Cowgirls.
“We came back strong in the second game,” Kats coach Bob Brock said. “I’m excited about getting out of there with a split.”
It was a pitching duel in the first four innings in the first game as both teams were held scoreless.
Sam Houston starting pitcher Haley Baros, who suffered the loss, got 10 groundouts while her counterpart, Jamie Allred, who was no-hitting Sam Houston, earned the win.
McNeese State (1-1 Southland Conference play, 13-8 overall) exploded for four runs in the top of the fifth inning for a 4-0 lead.
With two outs in the fifth, right fielder Victoria Rich, who reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to second on a passed ball.
The next batter, Alanna DiVittorio hit a ground ball to second and Alyssa Coggins tried to get Rich, who was heading home from second base.
However, catcher Tiffany Castillo dropped the ball and Rich scored the first run, while DiVittorio advanced to second.
That’s when the floodgates opened as Lauren Langer followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
Catcher Ashley Modzelewski followed with a two-run home run to left-center field that capped the inning.
“I think she (Tiffany Castillo) got the ball so soon that she could have tagged her out,” Brock said. “Unfortunately, it just opens the doors for things. Sometimes those things happen.”
Sam Houston (1-1, 8-9) finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Tayler Gray that cut the lead to 4-1.
Bearkats left fielder Amy Pelton broke the no-hit bid in the bottom of the inning with a double in the left-center-field gap, and advanced to third on a groundout by center fielder Jessica Slater and scored on Gray’s sacrifice fly.
Though the Bearkats got another run in the bottom of the seventh inning to cut the lead to 4-2 on a two-out solo homer by Cecelia Castillo, it wasn’t enough as Allred recorded the final out to seal the victory.
Sam Houston rebounded for a 3-2 victory behind a strong performance by starting pitcher Shelby Lancaster.
Lancaster threw a complete game, giving up a run on four hits and striking out two.
“I just trusted my drop ball and curveball,” Lancaster said. “They were being aggressive at the plate and I just caught them off-guard.”
Sam Houston scored a run in each of the first three innings.
An RBI single by Hilary Adams in the bottom of the first inning made it 1-0.
The Bearkats tacked on a run in the bottom of the second inning for a 2-0 lead.
Third baseman Tori Koerselman led off the inning with a walk. The next batter, Tiffany Castillo laid down a sacrifice bunt that allowed Koerselman to reach second and was heading for third.
First baseman Kim Kennedy tried to throw her out at third, but the ball went past third baseman Lakeyn Fontenot and Koerselman scored easily.
The Bearkats added the third run in the bottom of the third inning.
Gray and Coggins had back-to-back one-out singles.
With two outs, Modzelewski tried to throw out Gray at third base on a steal attempt, but it went past Fontenot and Gray scored.
“I felt like I got a good jump and I just stole,” Gray said.
“Figured if we’re not hitting pretty well, we might as well be aggressive on the basepaths.”
McNeese State scored two runs in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2.
Langer led off with a double and advanced to third on a fly out by Modzelewski.
A throwing error by Lancaster allowed Langer to score.
Shortstop Katie Roux followed with an RBI single that capped the inning.
McNeese State was looking to tie the game in the top of the seventh when Taylor Goree, who went a combined 4 for 6, hit a two-out single to right field.
Pinch runner Victoria Smith stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error.
However, Lancaster got pinch hitter Taylor Schimdt to fly out to Gray to seal the win.
The rubber match of the series will be today at 1 p.m.