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March 30, 2014

SHSU SOFTBALL — Adams leads Bearkats in win against Lamar

Kats deliver first series sweep of the season

HUNTSVILLE — Coming into the weekend series with Lamar, Sam Houston State was 3 1/2 games behind the Southland Conference leader.

After taking two games in the doubleheader Saturday, the Bearkats were able to complete the job as they swept the Cardinals with an 8-3 victory at the Bearkat Softball Complex on Sunday afternoon.

With the sweep, the Bearkats are a half-game behind the Cardinals in the conference standings.

“The sweep was very important for us to get against them because they were in first place in the conference,” catcher Tiffany Castillo, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs, said.

First baseman Sarah Allison, who went 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs, agrees.

“We knew coming in that this weekend was vital to our record,” Allison said. “We had our goal and we executed all around.”

Though both teams committed two errors apiece, Sam Houston State (7-5 Southland, 18-17 overall) was able to convert those into four unearned runs that made the difference in the game.

“We capitalized on the errors and mistakes,” Bearkat coach Bob Brock said. “We’ve been in that situation before.”

Lamar (7-5 Southland, 12-14 overall) couldn’t seal the deal on their chances as they left 11 runners on base.

One of those chances came in the top of the first inning when third baseman Casey Cromwell issued a walk with one out and advanced to second on a throwing error by third baseman Tori Koerselman, which allowed center fielder Candyce Carter to reach first.

Both runners advanced to second and third, respectively, on a grounder by catcher Beverly Corry.

However, starting pitcher Haley Baros, who received the no-decision, got Tina Schulz to fly out to center fielder Jessica Slater to get out of the jam.

Lamar’s error in the bottom of the first led to a three-run explosion for Sam Houston.

Koerselman reached first on a miscue by shortstop Stephanie Meeuwsen and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tayler Gray.

Then with two outs, designated player Hilary Adams, who went 3-for-3 with a home run, lined a double over the head of left fielder Jenna Holland that drove in Koerselman from second for a 1-0 lead.

Tiffany Castillo delivered the big blow when she launched a two-run blast over the left field fence to extend the lead to 3-0.

The home run was Castillo’s fifth of the season and her second consecutive home run.

“Tiffany (Castillo) is on a hitting streak,” Brock said.  “It’s really good to see her do that and we’re going to be a lot better for it.”

Lamar was looking to get back into the game in the top of the second when right fielder Julianne Viator reached first on a fielder's choice and Holland followed with a single to put runners at first and second.

But Baros settled down and struck out second baseman Shannon Sain and got Meewsen to line out to Allison to end the threat.

Lamar had their best chance in the top of third inning.

Cromwell’s lead off solo home run in the inning cut the lead to 3-1.

The Cardinals looked for more when the bases were loaded with no outs on three consecutive singles by Carter, Corry and Schulz.

However, Shelby Lancaster, who came in relief of Baros and got her fifth win of the season, got the next three outs to end the threat.

“I was trying to put a stop to the chaos,” Lancaster said. “We just needed some ground outs and my focus was to produce them.”

That allowed Sam Houston to get two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the lead to 5-1.

Adams hit a solo home run that landed just inside the foul pole to make it 4-1.

“I didn’t think it went out,” Adams said of her seventh home run of the season. “I thought I got a triple. It was probably the shortest home run I ever hit.”

A couple of batters later, Allison doubled to bring in pinch runner Jennie Kieval for the fifth run.

The Cardinals weren’t going away quietly as they scored two runs in the top of the fifth to cut the lead to 5-3.

Lamar had the bases loaded with no outs in the inning on three consecutive singles by Carter, Corry and Schulz.

Then McDowell’s routine grounder appeared to hit Corry, which would have prevented Gray from fielding it.

But the umpires didn’t call it and it allowed Carter to score the second run and everyone was safe.

Holland followed with a sacrifice fly that brought in Corry for Lamar's third run.

Lamar didn’t tack on more after Lancaster retired the next two batters to limit the damage.

Sam Houston added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend the lead to 8-3.

Tiffany Castillo reached first on a fielder’s choice and advanced to third on a throwing error by Cromwell that allowed second baseman Alyssa Coggins to reach second.

That set up Allison to hit a two-run double to left field to make it 7-3.

“Lamar had just scored a few more runs, so we really needed to get them back. That ball club is known for being scrappy,” Allison said. “I was trying to do anything to score our runners so we could take a bigger lead.”

Koerselman’s RBI single capped the inning.

Lancaster got the necessary outs in the top of the seventh to secure the win and the sweep.

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