SFA Sweeps UCA
March 31, 2007
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks designated Saturday as "Goin' to Bat for Burney" day. In the second game of their Southland Conference softball doubleheader against Central Arkansas, they did just that. SFA pounded out eight hits -- including a home run -- to take a 6-1 win over the Sugar Bears. The five-run win came on the heels of a 1-0 victory in the opener that marked the sixth complete-game shutout of the season for sophomore pitcher Kari Hugie.
Third baseman Briana Bishop woke the Ladyjack bats in the first inning of Game 2, when she blasted her sixth home run of the season over the wall in left-center. The solo shot gave SFA a 1-0 lead. Central Arkansas would answer with a home run by Katie Beth Billingsley in the fifth, but not before SFA had padded its lead with five more runs.
The Ladyjacks gave starter Ashley Wilburn some breathing room with a four-run third inning. The rally appeared dead before it started as SFA gave up two quick outs when Bishop was called for batter's interference on an attempted steal, and Benet Higgs was caught in a run-down trying to steal third in the next at-bat. But Michele Huffman moved to second base behind Higgs, and Wilburn helped her own cause with an RBI single to left-center.
The next batter, Jessica Tullos, reached on an error, and Wilburn took second. Heather Hebert then singled to right, scoring Wilburn. Tullos and Hebert moved to third and second, respectively on the throw home. That chased Sugar Bears' starter Tiffany Swanson from the circle in favor of Jennifer Collins. Collins walked Bria Wilson, then gave up a two-RBI single to center field to Chelsea Carr that put SFA ahead, 5-0. Kendal Harper grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
SFA found the scoreboard again in the fourth. Huffman led off with an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error. Bishop then ripped a double to the left-center gap, plating Huffman and giving the Ladyjacks a 6-0 advantage.
Billingsley got the Sugar Bears on the board in the fifth, when she led off with a homer to nearly the same spot as Bishop's first-inning bomb. That hit was the first allowed by Wilburn. Central Arkansas posted two more hits in the fifth, but would not score another run or record another base hit the rest of the way.
Wilburn finished with one earned run on three hits and three balls with five strikeouts. The win improved her record to 6-11.
Hits were hard to come by in the opener, and runs were even scarcer. The only scoring of the game came in the bottom half of the third inning. Bishop drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Harper and Higgs had each singled ahead of her. The next batter, Magen Butler, chopped a grounder toward third base. The Central Arkansas fielder tried to force Higgs at third, but Higgs beat her to the bag, and her throw across the diamond was not in time to get Butler at first. Harper scored, giving SFA the only run it would need in the game.
Hugie scattered four Sugar Bear hits and stayed out of trouble. She didn't allow a UCA runner past second base. For the game, Hugie (7-8) allowed four hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
The doubleheader sweep improved SFA's record to 14-21 overall and 7-4 in SLC action. UCA fell to 8-27 on the year and 0-14 in conference play. The Ladyjacks will try to complete the sweep when they host UCA in Game 3 of the series Sunday at noon.
-- SFA --