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LU SOFTBALL DOUBLES UP ALABAMA A&M

BEAUMONT – The Lamar Cardinals continued their dominance at the LU Softball Complex, improving to 29-9 all-time at the facility, with a 6-3 victory over the Alabama A&M Bulldogs in the first game of the Cardinal Classic on Thursday.

The Cardinals (3-8) jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings and held on as they snapped a seven-game losing streak.

“We got off to a great start, but we tapered off after that,” LU coach Holly Bruder said. “We didn’t have great at bats after that, but we found a way to win.”

The Cardinals got to Alabama A&M starter Caitlyn Hayden (2-4) early with four runs in the first inning, collecting five hits in the inning and taking advantage of some fielding miscues by the Lady Bulldogs (3-7).

LU increased the lead to 6-0 in the second on a two-run double by Brynn Baca. After that it was up to a trio of LU pitchers to hold the Bulldogs at bay.

LU starter Laura Napoli (2-3) went the first three innings, leaving with the comfortable lead. Reliever Julia Voluntad wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the fourth. Alabama A&M scored three runs in the sixth inning off Amie Cisneros before Napoli came back in to pitch a scoreless seventh inning to close things out.

Napoli allowed two hits in her four innings, walking one and striking out five. Two of Napoli’s strikeouts came in the seventh, when she set the side down in order. Voluntad pitched one scoreless inning, while Cisneros allowed five hits and three runs, all earned in her two innings of work.

“To be honest, I thought Laura pitched better in relief than she did over her first three innings,” Bruder said. “I was very happy with the way she pitched.”

Baca led the LU offense with three hits and three RBIs. Brittany Rodriguez had three hits and scored twice for the Cardinals.

Hayden pitched a complete game for Alabama A&M, allowing 11 hits and six runs, two earned. She did not walk anyone and had one strikeout. Brandi Foreman and Jessica Alferos had two hits apiece for the Lady Bulldogs.

The tourney, which runs through Sunday, has five games scheduled for today. Alabama A&M meets Tulsa at 10 a.m. That is followed by Northern Illinois vs. Alabama A&M at 12:15 p.m., South Dakota State vs. Kansas at 2:30 p.m., South Dakota State vs. LU at 4:45 p.m. and Kansas facing Northern Illinois at 7 p.m. LU plays Kansas at 4:45 p.m. Saturday, Northern Illinois at 10:15 a.m. Sunday and Tulsa at 2:45 p.m. Sunday.

— Lamar sports information