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Lamar sluggish to start but sweeps Alcorn State

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT – The Lamar Cardinals overcame a sluggish start to sweep the Alcorn State Lady Braves in a non-conference doubleheader at the LU Softball Complex on Tuesday.

The Cardinals (17-15) rallied from a 7-2 deficit in the sixth inning for an 8-7 win in the opening game before rolling to a 9-1 run-rule win in five innings in the nightcap.

GAME 1: LAMAR 8, ALCORN STATE 7

Ashley McDowell’s two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning capped an improbable comeback for the Cardinals, who had been held to just two runs and four hits over the first five innings before erupting for three runs and three hits in both the sixth and seventh innings.

LU overcame a season-high five errors to defeat the Lady Braves, who outhit the Cardinals 14-10.

“We played a terrible game, and yet we found a way to win,” LU coach Holly Bruder said. “This team didn’t give up, and I think it was a wake-up call for us. We responded in a big way and carried that over into the second game.”

LU trailed 7-2 heading to the bottom of the six before making the game close with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Samantha Cetta had an RBI single and Ashley McDowell had a run-scoring double to make it 7-4 before Shelby Henderson scored on a passed ball to cut the Alcorn State lead to 7-5.

LU’s Ciara Luna (5-9), the third Cardinal pitcher used, set the Lady Braves down in order in the seventh, giving the Cardinals a chance to complete the comeback. Elizabeth Castillo stroked a two-run, two-out single up the middle to tie it at 7. After Henderson was hit by a pitch, McDowell ripped a 3-1 pitch to the gap in left-center to easily score Castillo with the game-winning run. It was McDowell’s school-record fourth walk-off RBI of her career.

Luna picked up the win in relief, allowing four hits and three runs, all unearned, in three innings.

McDowell had three hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals, Kelly Meeuwsen also had three hits in the win. Taylor Hughes had three hits for Alcorn State.

GAME 2: LAMAR 9, ALCORN STATE 1

Meeuwsen and Henderson each had two hits in LU’s 11-hit attack as the Cardinals improved to 7-0 all-time against Alcorn State.

The Cardinals broke open a 1-1 game with seven runs in the bottom of the third inning. Sable Hankins had a two-run double to highlight the seven hits in the inning.

That was more than enough support for LU starter Laura Napoli (8-6), who allowed two hits and one earned run over three innings to get the win. Erin Kyle, making her collegiate debut, pitch two scoreless innings of relief, allowing one hit.

After making five errors in the opener, the Cardinals played errorless ball in the second game.

“Our team really responded on the field,” Bruder said. “That’s the type of softball we are capable of playing. After a slow start, we finished with 21 hits on the night. That’s impressive.”

THE STREAK CONTINUES

LU catcher Brynn Baca, who drew two walks in the first game to go along with a hit and being hit by a pitch in the nightcap, has reached base safely in 24 straight games, two shy of the school record of 26 set by Rodriguez last season.

UP NEXT

The Cardinals are on the road for five straight games. LU plays a three-game Southland Conference series at Southeastern Louisiana, starting with a doubleheader at 4 p.m. Friday and a single game at noon Saturday. LU is at Houston for a non-conference doubleheader at 4 p.m. Tuesday before hosting Sam Houston State in a conference doubleheader at 4 p.m. April 7 to open a seven-game homestand.