Feb. 20, 2010
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
Stephen F. Austin's offense came alive Saturday on the opening day of the Southern Miss Mizuno Classic, as the Ladyjacks banged out 18 hits in two games to pick up wins over Louisiana Tech and Alcorn State.
SFA took a 7-6 victory over the Techsters, then pounded Alcorn for a 9-1 verdict in five innings. The wins improve the Ladyjacks to 3-5 on the season.
SFA built a big lead early against Louisiana Tech then weathered a late charge by the Techsters to collect the one-run win.
The Ladyjacks put together their best half-inning of the young season in the top of the second, when they scored five runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Junior Ashley Struchtemeyer led off with a double, then scored on a base hit by sophomore Kayla Gutowski. After senior Karissa Jones drew a walk, sophomore Amber Price bunted the runners into scoring position. Freshman Bethany Brown then drew a walk to load the bases. After an infield pop-up for the second out of the inning, sophomore Jessica Arana and freshman Brittany Caruthers banged out back-to-back RBI singles to give SFA a 5-0 lead.
Louisiana Tech answered with a run in the bottom half, but the Ladyjacks put up another score in the third to keep their five-run edge. Gutowski led off the third with a single, then moved to third on a hit batsman and a sacrifice bunt by Brown. Gutowski scored on a two-out infield single by Harper.
SFA tacked on what proved to be the game-winning run when Brown hit her first career homer in the top of the fifth inning.
The Techsters took advantage of two SFA errors in the bottom of the sixth to put up five runs. A bases-loaded, two-out double scored three to make it a one-run game, chasing Ladyjack starter Angela White from the circle in favor of junior Monika Covington. She escaped the inning without further damage then struck out two of the four batters she faced in the seventh to earn her first save of the season.
White (2-2) was charged with four earned runs on three hits and two walks.
Arana, Struchtemeyer, Caruthers and Gutowski finished with two hits apiece, while Harper, Price, Brown and Briana Bishop each hit safely once, as SFA put up a season-high 12 hits.
In Game 2, the Ladyjacks came up with a late rally to pick up their first run-rule victory of the season. SFA trailed, 1-0, after the third inning but scored twice in the fourth and added seven runs in the fifth to end the game early.
Brown and Harper led off the decisive fifth inning with singles, and Arana reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Caruthers drove two runs in when she reached on an error, then Bishop singled to score Arana. Struchtemeyer followed with a single, and Jones drew a bases-loaded walk to make it a 6-1 game.
Price plated pinch-runner Krista Hallmark with an infield single, then Harper reached on an error, allowing Brandi Dutton to score. Arana then drew a bases-loaded walk, scoring Jones to end the game.
Jones gave SFA the lead with a two-run single in the fourth inning.
Covington started and pitched the first three-and-a-third innings. She allowed one unearned run on five walks and a hit and posted six strikeouts. White worked the final inning and two-thirds to pick up the win and move to 3-2 on the season.
Harper, Bishop, Struchtemeyer, Jones, Price and Brown each finished with one hit in the game.
SFA will continue play in the Mizuno Classic Sunday with games against Notre Dame and Southern Miss.
-- SFA --