Ladyjacks Top Colonels
April 6, 2007
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack softball team took a big step toward qualifying for the Southland Conference Tournament Friday, when the Ladyjacks took a pair of extra-inning wins against Nicholls State. SFA rallied past the slugging Colonels in the opener to take a 6-5 win in eight innings. Then, in the nightcap, the Ladyjacks overcame a game-tying home run in the seventh inning by Nicholls and manufactured a run in the ninth to win, 2-1.
Nicholls State blasted three home runs in the opener, but the Ladyjacks used some timely hitting to capitalize on seven Colonel errors and take the win. Nicholls led, 2-0, after a two-run homer in the second inning, but SFA answered with three runs in the bottom half.
Jessica Tullos led off with an infield single, then she moved all the way to third when Heather Hebert's base hit to left was mishandled. Tullos scored on Chelsea Carr's single through the right side. Hebert scored from third two at-bats later on a passed ball, and Carr advanced from second to third. She scored when Benet Higgs grounded out to second base.
The Colonels fired back with two more runs in the third to take a 4-3 advantage, but SFA made the most of three Nicholls errors in the fourth and fifth innings. Carr led off the fourth inning by reaching base on an error. She would move to third on the errant throw that allowed the next batter, Kim Daley, to reach base. Daley was thrown out at second on the play. Kendal Harper recorded an infield single to plate Carr and tie the game.
SFA pulled ahead with one run in the fifth, again taking advantage of a Nicholls mistake. Briana Bishop led off with a double to right-center. Her pinch runner, Michele Huffman, moved to third on a groundout, then scored a two-out run when the Colonel first baseman was unable to field Hebert's ground ball cleanly.
Nicholls got a solo homer to tie it in the seventh, but the Colonels were done in by errors in the eighth. Carr reached base on an error in the infield, then moved to second when Daley grounded out for the second out of the inning. Carr took third on an infield single by Harper, then scored the winning run as Higgs reached base on an error.
The Ladyjacks used three different pitchers in the game. Debra Boles started and worked three innings. She allowed four runs on six hits with a walk and one strikeout before giving way to Magen Butler. Butler lasted four innings with one earned run on four hits and two free passes. Kari Hugie pitched one inning of relief to pick up the win. She shut Nicholls out and didn't allow a hit in the eighth, as she improved her record to 8-9.
The scoring was muted in the second game. Nicholls State went scoreless through the first six innings, while SFA clung to a 1-0 lead. The Ladyjacks drew blood in the fourth. Bishop led off with a walk, and pinch-runner Crystal Garcia advanced to second on a base knock up the middle by Tullos. Both runners moved up a base when Hebert beat out an infield single. Garcia came home on a sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Chelsea Carr.
Nicholls broke out of its scoring slump in the seventh with a solo homer, the Colonels' fourth of the day. The score remained knotted at one, until the ninth, when SFA loaded the bases with one out. Harper drew the hero duty, two innings after she nearly had to leave the lineup when an attempted slap hit caromed off her bat and hit her in the face. In the ninth, though, Harper came through. Sporting a new face shield on her helmet, she chopped a ground ball to second base, and Tullos raced home from third, easily beating the throw and giving SFA the doubleheader sweep.
Wilburn (7-11) took the win for SFA. She started and pitched the first three innings, before Hugie came on in relief. Wilburn returned to the circle in the eighth inning and held the Colonels scoreless to collect the win. She allowed just two hits and two walks and struck out one. Hugie gave up one run on one hit and recorded a strikeout.
The pair of wins improves SFA's record to 16-22 for the year and 9-5 in Southland Conference play. The Ladyjacks will go for the series sweep Saturday. That game is set to start at noon.
-- SFA --