Maine Edges Ladyjacks
Feb. 20, 2011
LAFAYETTE, La. - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack softball team jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, but couldn't hold the advantage Sunday in a 6-5 loss to Maine on the last day of the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajun Invitational. SFA issued two unearned runs in the bottom of the first, then gave up what proved to be the winning run in the fifth on an illegal pitch.
SFA falls to 2-9 and finished as the tournament's runner-up with a 2-3 record. Freshmen Carlie Thomas and Elizabeth Arana were each named to the All-Tournament team. Thomas won both her starts in the circle and posted a 2.08 ERA for the weekend. She held the opposition to a .152 average and struck out eight. Arana batted .444 in the five-game tournament. She had a team-best .611 slugging percentage, drove in four runs and scored three.
SFA got out to its best start of the season with a four-run first inning. Amber Price led off with a double to left-center, then moved to third on a base knock by Nicole Wooten. Wooten took second on the throw. Price came home on a single by Arana, then Cadie Weaver plated Wooten with a sacrifice fly. Arana moved to second on the play.
The next batter, Lauren Luetge went up the middle for a base hit, advancing Arana to third. Arana would then score on a passed ball, with Luetge moving to second. Krista Hallmark followed with a base hit to center, putting Luetge on third. Bethany Brown then brought her home with a bunt for a base hit.
Maine cut the lead in half with two runs in the bottom of the first, thanks to an SFA error. A hit batsman and a misplayed ground ball gave the Black Bears two runners with one out. Ladyjack starter Angela White then got the second out on strikes. But she followed with a walk to load the bases, then two more free passes to force home a pair of unearned runs. SFA would eventually escape the inning on a ground ball.
After its offensive outburst in the opening frame, SFA went hitless in the second, third and fourth innings. Maine, meanwhile, took a 5-4 lead with three runs in the second. The Black Bears again did their scoring with two out. After a walk, sacrifice bunt and ground-out gave Maine a runner on third with two down, Terren Hall hit a two-run home run to left to tie the game. White walked the next batter - her fifth free pass in the first two innings - getting Monika Covington into the game in relief. Covington was called for an illegal pitch, moving the runner to second, then Maine got an RBI double from Jennifer Eberhardt to take the lead.
The Ladyjacks tied the score at five with a run in the fifth. Arana got a one-out single, then scored from first on a double into the right-field corner by Weaver. SFA stranded Weaver at second with a line-drive out and a fly ball in succession.
The Black Bears then benefitted from some sloppy play by the Ladyjacks to score what proved to be the game-winner. After Eberhardt drew a leadoff walk, a wild pitch gave Maine a runner on second with no outs. Eberhardt took third on a dropped third strike to put runners at the corner. She trotted home on an illegal pitch in the next at-bat.
SFA went quietly in the sixth and seventh, failing to get a runner on base.
The Ladyjacks will return to action Wednesday when they play at Houston Baptist. The game against the Huskies is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.
-- SFA --