March 19, 2011
NATCHITOCHES, La. -
Monika Covington pitched 10 shutout innings, and Bethany Brown hit a two-run homer in the top of the 11th inning as Stephen F. Austin took a 3-2 win over Northwestern State Saturday in the first game of a series-opening doubleheader.
The Demons got a sterling pitching performance from Kelee Grimes in Game 2 to take a 7-0 verdict. With the split, SFA moves to 7-21 on the season and 3-7 in Southland Conference play. Northwestern State is now 16-11 overall and 4-4 against conference foes.
The win is just the second of the year for Covington (2-13) who scattered seven hits over the first 10 innings without allowing a run. She worked around a bases-loaded situation with one out in the third, then got some help from her defense in the sixth, when shortstop Elizabeth Arana threw out a runner at the plate with Northwestern trying to score from second on an infield single.
The Demons finally got to Covington with a two-run home run and a double in the bottom of the 11th, but Angela White came on in relief and got three outs to close out the game.
The Ladyjack offense was scoreless on just three hits through the first 10 innings before breaking through in the top of the 11th. SFA began the frame with Nicole Wooten on second base, per international tie-breaker rules. Krista Hallmark then bunted her to third on a play that would be ruled a double for Hallmark.
The next two batters would both go down on strikes, but Wooten scored from third on a wild pitch. That brought Brown up with two outs and she delivered with her second home run of the season.
For the game, Covington was charged with one earned run on nine hits and a pair of walks. She struck out eight.
Amber Price went 2-for-5 with Brown, Lauren Luetge and Hallmark providing SFA's other three base hits.
Grimes took a no-hitter through four innings and finished with a one-hit shutout as the Ladyjacks were blanked for the first time since a 2-0 loss at UAB on Feb. 26.
The Demons grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second when Tiffany Ward scored on an RBI ground-out by Tara McKenney.
Northwestern loaded the bases with one out on a single backed by two walks in the third. Blair Beard and McKenney drove in a run apiece with singles before SFA starter Carlie Thomas got out of the inning.
The Demons put two in scoring position with a leadoff walk and a double to chase Thomas from the game in the fourth. White came on in relief and put away the first batter she faced, but Ashlee England ripped a three-run homer in the next at-bat to make it a 6-0 game.
Lacy Liles got a single to center in the top of the fifth to break up Grimes' no-hitter, but SFA couldn't get on the board.
Brianna Rodriguez singled home a run for the Demons in the bottom half to set the final score.
Thomas (5-7) took the loss after working three full innings. She allowed five earned runs on six hits and six walks with one strikeout. White was charged with two earned runs on three hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts in three innings of relief.
The series will wrap up Sunday with a single game, slated to get under way at noon.
-- SFA --