Lamar softball takes two from Incarnate Word

Published 11:17 pm Friday, March 25, 2016

Lamar sports information
BEAUMONT — Ciara Luna and Laura Napoli turned in a pair of dominant pitching performances as the Lamar University Cardinals swept a Southland Conference softball doubleheader from visiting Incarnate Word by scores of 2-1 and 8-0 on Friday.
“There’s no doubt that pitching was the highlight for us today,” LU coach Holly Bruder said. “Ciara throws a three-hitter in the opener and Laura follows that with a two-hitter in the second game. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
Luna (8-2) struck out a career-high nine hitters, while not walking anyone. The only Incarnate Word run was unearned. Still, it took some last-minute heroics for LU to get the win.
LU trailed 1-0 with one out in the bottom of the seventh before the magic happened. Sarah Ragsdale had a one-out double to left and moved to third on Stephanie Meeuwsen’s bunt single. Meeuwsen then stole second before her sister, Kelly, stole the show with a two-run double to left field off reliever Bridget Stein won the game. “That was huge for us,” Bruder said. “We’ve lost our share of games on walk offs, so it was nice to win one that way. It showed us that we’re never out of it. I was worried that Ciara was going to have nothing to show for her tremendous effort, but we battled back and found a way to win.”
UIW starter Sarah Leal (3-6) took the loss, allowing five hits and two runs, both earned. She walked three and struck out five.
In the second game, LU (17-11 overall, 5-3 Southland) broke things open early with a five-run second inning, capped by Ashley McDowell’s three-run double. LU made it 7-0 in the fifth inning on a Kelly Meeuwsen RBI double and a Brynn Baca run-scoring single before ending the game on the run rule in the sixth inning when Baca hit a two-out single up the middle with the bases loaded to score pinch runner Baylie Comeaux with the game-ending run.
Napoli (5-5) allowed two hits with no walks while striking out four. It was Napoli’s 24th career win, one shy of the school record of 25 set by Shannon Millman.
“Ciara and Laura were really hitting their spots,” said Baca, who caught both games. They made my job easy.”
Stein (5-5) started and took the loss for UIW in the nightcap. She allowed six hits and five runs, all earned, over 2-1/3 innings. Leal surrendered five hits and two runs over three innings, while Jessica Rodriguez allowed two walks and one run while retiring one batter. “We saw the same pitchers we faced in the first game, and we made some adjustments,” Bruder said. “I was happy to see that.”
LU right fielder Brittany Rodriguez had two hits in each game as she extended her streak of reaching base safely to 24 games, equaling the school record set by Stephanie Meeuwsen last season. Rodriguez improved her team-leading batting average to .420.
LU, which was playing its first home games in 33 days, improved to 7-0 at home this season and 19-5 all-time at the LU Softball Complex since the venue opened last season. The series concludes with a single game at 1 p.m. Saturday. It’s Dollar Dog Day, with $1 hot dogs courtesy of Chartwells. All youth players will receive free admission if they wear their uniform to the game.

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