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May 5, 2014

SHSU SOFTBALL — Bearkats fall to No. 3 after loss to Stephen F. Austin

Sam Houston State squanders chance to claim second seed

HUNTSVILLE — The Bearkats wanted to finish the regular season on a high note in order to secure the No. 2 seed that would have allowed them to get a bye in the Southland Conference tourmanent.

However, the Bearkats, who finished with a conference record of 15-11 (26-25 overall) lost Sunday’s game to rival Stephen F. Austin 6-2 and as a result will have the No. 3 seed.

Sam Houston faces No. 6 Central Arkansas on Thursday at 1:30 p.m., in the opening round.

Northwestern State takes the No. 2 seed and will join McNeese State, who won the SLC regular season outright, in the bye.

That doesn’t faze Bearkat coach Bob Brock a bit as he sees it as a clean slate for everyone and believes that his team will make a run in the tournament.

“Everybody is 0-0,” Brock said. “I think getting a chance to start over is going to give us good momentum.”

Stephen F. Austin, which secured the No. 4 seed in the tournament with a conference record of 13-12 (24-25 overall), jumped out of the gate in the top of the first inning when designated player Brittany Lewis launched a grand slam over the left center-field wall for a 4-0 lead.

Sam Houston had two opportunities to get back in the game after two solo home runs by third baseman Tori Koerselman and right fielder Cecilia Castillo in the bottom of the first and fourth inning, respectively.

After Koerselman launched a one-out solo bomb over the center field fence in the bottom of the first to cut the lead to 4-1, catcher Tiffany Castillo and designated player Hilary Adams followed with back-to-back walks with a chance to tack on more.

However, Lumberjack starting pitcher Carlie Thomas, who went the distance and secured her 16th win of the season, struck out first baseman Sarah Allison and got Cecilia Castillo to fly out to end the threat.

The Lumberjacks added two runs in the top of the fourth inning to make it 6-1.

Brittany Lee, who pinch ran for first baseman Shalie Day when she led off with a single, advanced to second and third on back-to-back singles by catcher Katelyn Standley and Lewis.

Lee went on to score from third on a Bearkat error and a couple of batters later with the bases loaded, center fielder Lindsay Campbell drew the walk that brought in the sixth run for the Lumberjacks.

The Bearkats had another chance in the bottom of the fourth inning.

After Cecilia Castillo led off the inning with a moonshot over the scoreboard, left fielder Amy Pelton was hit by a pitch and second baseman Alyssa Coggins followed with a single.

After Thomas got Slater and short stop Tayler Gray to fly out for two outs, Koerselman issued the walk to load the bases.

However, Thomas got Tiffany Castillo to fly out to right fielder Heather Hollingsworth to end the threat.

“It was a big deal to get us started,” Castillo said. “We didn't come out like we wanted to.”

Sam Houston understand that they got to go to the next level if they want to win the SLC tournament, set to begin on Thursday and punch their ticket to the NCAA Softball Championships.

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