April 11, 2009
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
Briana Bishop hit a record-breaking home run Saturday at Hoya Field, as Stephen F. Austin wrapped up a three-game sweep against Central Arkansas with an 8-2 victory. Bishop's homer went out to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning and put her name in the record books as SFA's career home runs leader with 24 bombs.
Bishop surpassed former Ladyjack Jessica Tullos on the career list and moved into a tie with Tullos for the single-season record with 11 long balls this year. The blast was the eighth hit by SFA in the three-game set, tying the team's season-high for a Southland Conference series. In addition, Bishop's home run gave SFA a league-leading 43 as a team, tying the mark set by last year's squad.
More importantly, the three-game sweep moves the Ladyjacks to 23-21 on the season with a 12-9 SLC record. SFA has now won four straight games and five of its last six contests. Central Arkansas fell to 20-23 on the year and 10-11 in Southland action.
The Bears scored two runs in the fourth inning Saturday, both unearned, as Monika Covington (15-11) picked up her second win of the weekend, and the SFA pitching staff finished the three-game series without allowing an earned run.
The Ladyjacks took an early lead with two runs in the second. After Kim Daley took a pitch in the ribs to lead off, Ashley Struchtemeyer roped a double to the gap in right-center, giving SFA two runners in scoring position with no outs. Karissa Jones followed with a single, bringing home Daley. One at-bat later, Amber Price laced a double down the left-field line, bringing Struchtemeyer across for a 2-0 lead.
In the third, SFA opened with a Kayla Gutowski walk, followed by a double to left by Daley, to again give the Ladyjacks two runners in scoring position. Struchtemeyer followed with a double to left-center, bringing both players home. Two at-bats later, Kari Hugie got a two-out single up the middle to move Struchtemeyer to third. She would score on an errant throw, when Hugie stole second.
Central Arkansas picked up its two unearned runs in the fourth, and the SFA bats were quiet until the sixth. Gutowski led off the frame with her sixth home run of the season. That brought Bishop to the plate, and she delivered with her record-setting smash. The homer was Bishops third in three games and gave her eight RBI for the series, both season-highs for an SFA player in a conference series this year. The bomb gave the Ladyjacks a 7-2 lead, but SFA would tack on one more run in the inning.
Following Bishop's homer, Sabrina Johnston batted for Daley and drew a walk. Daley replaced her on the base paths and moved to second on an errant throw from the UCA outfield. She stole third, then came home on a Jones single to set the final count.
Covington closed the book in the top of the seventh, stranding two UCA runners. She scattered four hits and a walk over seven innings without giving up an earned run. Covington recorded five strikeouts, giving her 200 for the season.
As a team, SFA batted .446 on the weekend, outscoring UCA, 27-3, in three games. Gutowski hit a team-high .700, going 7-for-10 in the series with two homers and four RBI. Struchtemeyer was 7-of-11 with two doubles and two homers for a 1.364 slugging percentage. Harper went 5-for-9 with four runs scored. Bishop finished 6-for-11 with 15 total bases, tying Struchtemeyer for the highest slugging percentage on the team.
The Ladyjacks will finish off their longest home stand of the season next weekend, when they host Nicholls State in a three-game series. The set will open Saturday with a doubleheader, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
-- SFA --