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March 23, 2014

SHSU SOFTBALL — Just short

Kats unable to finish series sweep due to errors, missed opportunities

HUNTSVILLE — Sam Houston State couldn’t close the deal on a sweep against Nicholls as missed scoring opportunities and errors led to the 8-3 loss to the Colonels on Sunday at the Bearkat Softball Complex.

Bearkat coach Bob Brock thought the team could have used a sense of urgency.

“One of the things we seem to have a problem doing sometimes is coming out here and finishing these series,” Brock said. “I thought we came out a little complacent.”

Nicholls State (1-7 Southland Conference play, 9-24 overall) struck for two runs in the top of the first inning for a 2-0 lead.

Center fielder Taylor Terrio, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI, led off the game with an infield single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Brooke Morris.

The next batter, second baseman Danielle Phillips singled up the middle to score Terrio from second for the first run.

Phillips moved to second on the throw to the plate and advanced to third on a ground out by Brittany Marcet.

A throwing error by third baseman Tori Koerselman on a routine grounder by right fielder Colleen Levy allowed Phillips to score the second run.

Starting pitcher Haley Baros, who went 5 1/3 innings and suffered the loss, held the Colonels scoreless for the next three innings and kept Sam Houston in the game.

“I was just trying my best to hold them to as less runs as possible,” Baros said.

The Bearkats (4-5 Southland, 14-16 overall), who left 8 runners on base, had runners in the first three innings with an opportunity to tie or take the lead.

In the bottom of the first after Koerselman hit a two-out double to left-center and Hilary Adams followed with a walk, Colonel starting pitcher Jackie Johnson, who went the distance and secured the win, struck out right fielder Cecelia Castillo, who went 1-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, to end the threat.

The second opportunity for the Bearkats came in the bottom of the second when catcher Tiffany Castillo and first baseman Angelica Gonzales issued back-to-back walks with no outs.

Both runners advance to second and third respectively after a sacrifice bunt by left fielder Amy Pelton.

But the Bearkats came up short again as Johnson struck out center fielder Jessica Slater and short stop Tayler Gray to nullify the opportunity.

The third chance came in the bottom of the third inning when Koerselman reached first on a fielder's choice play that got second baseman Alyssa Coggins, who led off the inning with a single up the middle, out at second.

Adams issued a walk to put runners on first and second.

Koerselman stole third base while Dani Allen, who pinched ran for Adams, moved to second on the throw by catcher Kayla Prater.

But the Bearkats couldn’t capitalized as Johnson got Cecelia Castillo to fly out and struck out Tiffany Castillo to end the inning.

Sam Houston was able to knot it up at 2 in the bottom of the fifth inning on a two-out, two-run single by Cecelia Castillo.

Gray led off the inning with a double and with one out, Koerselman walked to put runners on first and second.

After a fly out by Adams for the second out, both runners stole second and third respectively and allowed the Kats to score on Castillo’s single.

“We got a big hit out of Cecelia,” Brock said.

Nicholls would answer with a six run explosion in the top of the sixth inning for a 8-2 lead.

Marcet led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Levy.

Third baseman Cari Spain followed with a single that moved Cheyenne Naquin, who pinch ran for Marcet to third while Spain’s heads up base running allowed her to advance to second.

Then, Kayla Prater hit an RBI single that scored Naquin for the 3-2 lead while Spain advanced to third and Prater advanced to second on the throw.

After reliever Taylor Atkinson got first baseman Caitlyn Carroll to ground out for the second out, Haley Parkerson hit a routine fly ball to center field and it seemed as if the Bearkats were going to escape the inning.

But Slater dropped the ball which allowed both Prater and Spain to score to extend the lead to 5-2.

The Colonels opened the floodgates and added three more runs courtesy of an RBI single by Terrio and a two-run double by Phillips that capped the inning.

“Sometimes that happens,” Brock said. “But we still had another batter up where we could have gotten the third out.”

Though Sam Houston would score another run in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it 8-3 on Gray’s RBI single, the damage was already done as Johnson got the needed outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to secure the win.

“We had a lot of opportunities to score runs,” Baros said. “It didn’t come through until it was too late.”

Brock believes his team will rebound and that the non-conference double-header matchup with Baylor on Tuesday will give them the jump start they need.

“We just need to stay focused at all times,” Brock said. “I’m sure with Baylor coming in on Tuesday, we will be real focused. We’ve just got to keep plugging away.”

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