Late Rally Falls Short For SFA in 8-7 Loss
May 8, 2014
HAMMOND, La. - Stephen F. Austin raced out to an early lead in the opening game of the Southland Conference Championship but a pair of big innings for Houston Baptist did in the Ladyjacks who fell to the Huskies 8-7.
Fourth-seeded SFA staged a late rally, notching three runs in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run in scoring position but couldn't complete the comeback, falling to 24-26 on the season. Fifth-seeded Houston Baptist improved to 22-26 on the year.
Playing in its first postseason game since 2010, the Ladyjacks took advantage early, notching a pair of runs in both the first and second innings to break open an early 4-0 lead. After a leadoff walk for Alisa Hamilton, a Cadie Weaver double to left brought Hamilton home. Katelyn Standley then had an opposite field single, scoring Weaver to give SFA the two-run lead after one.
SFA kept the momentum going in the second beginning with a triple to right by Heather Hollingsworth. Hamilton then reached on a Husky fielding error, bringing Hollingsworth home for the Ladyjacks' third run of the game. Three batters later, Standley picked up her second RBI in as many innings, knocking a single to left field to push Hamilton across the plate as the Ladyjacks appeared in control.
HBU responded with three runs in the third, aided by an SFA error and a pair of Husky singles, trimming the deficit to one at 4-3. The Huskies had another big inning in the fifth, pushing five runs across the plate off six hits, including a leadoff triple, and a pair of Ladyjack errors (both of which occurred on the same play) to take a commanding 8-4 lead through four and a half innings.
The Ladyjacks responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth as Hollingsworth notched an RBI base hit up the middle, scoring Elizabeth Arana who reached on a leadoff walk. SFA had a chance to cut into the gap with two runners on, but Lindsay Campbell was thrown out at home, thwarting a Ladyjack scoring opportunity.
After sending down the Huskies in order in both the sixth and seventh innings, SFA began the bottom of the seventh trailing 8-5. After a leadoff walk by Arana, Campbell doubled to right, followed by a sacrifice fly by Taylor LeFlore to make it 8-6. Two runners remained on for Hamilton who reached on a fielding error, bringing Campbell home and pulling the Ladyjacks to within a run at 8-7.
Hamilton then stole second, putting the potential tying run in scoring position for SFA as Weaver came to bat. It looked as if the Ladyjacks would tie the game as Weaver ripped a shot down the left field line, but it struck the outfield wall just inches into foul territory. Weaver would then swing and miss the next pitch, sealing the victory for Houston Baptist.
Hamilton went 2-for-3 for SFA on the day with a pair of RBI and two runs scored while Standley went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs as well. Weaver, LeFlore and Hollingsworth each recorded an RBI on the afternoon while Arana accounted for a pair of Ladyjack runs.
Carlie Thomas was credited with the loss, going the distance for SFA and allowing eight runs (five earned) with 10 hits on 141 pitches. The senior issued a pair of walks while striking out three, falling to 16-14 on the season.
SFA falls into the elimination bracket and will await its second-round opponent. The Ladyjacks return to the field at North Oak Park at 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, facing Northwestern State, Central Arkansas or Sam Houston State depending on the results of Thursday's late games.