CONWAY, Ark. – A pair of big innings allowed Central Arkansas to earn a doubleheader sweep of Southeastern Louisiana in Southland Conference softball action Friday evening at Farris Field.
Southeastern (22-24, 9-11) dropped both games, as Central Arkansas snapped the Lady Lions’ three-game winning streak. The Bears improved to 19-30 overall and 9-11 in league action.
In the nightcap, SLU squandered a 5-1 advantage, as UCA scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on the way to a 6-5 victory. Sophomore shortstop Jaquelyn Ramon, junior outfielder Kinsey Nichols, junior infielder Mahalia Gibson and junior catcher Carlie Whittington had two hits apiece for Southeastern in the loss.
In the day’s opening game, SLU could not overcome an eight-run second inning in a 10-2 loss to the host Bears. Junior outfielder Kalyn Watts and Nichols had two hits apiece for the Lady Lions, while freshman infielder Mattie Ort drove in both Southeastern runs.
The series wraps up on Saturday with a 12 p.m. contest. Live stats and video, provided by UCA, will be accessible via the softball schedule page at www.LionSports.net.
Game One – Central Arkansas 10, Southeastern Louisiana 2 (5 Innings)
Southeastern jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. Watts and Nichols both beat out infield singles, then Ort lined a sharp single up the middle, scoring both runners and staking the Lady Lions to a 2-0 lead.
The Bears exploded in the bottom of the second inning to take the lead for good. UCA sent 12 to the plate, collecting eight runs on six hits to take a commanding 8-2 advantage.
SLU threatened in the top of the third, as singles by Ramon and Nichols, followed by an Ort walk, loaded the bases with two outs. However, UCA ace Kayla Gomness (12-15) retired SLU freshman infielder Ali McCoy to keep the lead at 8-2.
The Bears enforced the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth inning. Freshman Alley McDonald gave up a pair of unearned runs due to an error by Watts to allow UCA to close the victory.
SLU – 200 00 – 2 7 1 (22-23, 9-10 SLC)
UCA – 080 02 – 10 8 0 (18-30, 8-11 SLC)
Rachel Hayes, Alley McDonald (2) and Whitney Sullivan. Kayla Gomness and Ryan Holdiness. W – Gomness (12-15). L – Hayes (7-7). 2B – SLU: Alli Daigle (4); UCA: Ryan Holdiness (1). T – 1:32. A – 343.
Game Two – Central Arkansas 6, Southeastern Louisiana 5
SLU took the lead versus UCA starter Ellie Reaves in the top of the first inning. Ramon beat out an infield single, stole second and was singled home by Nichols to give the Lady Lions an early 1-0 advantage.
Southeastern padded its advantage in the top of the second inning. Junior third baseman Alli Daigle drew a walk, moved to second on an illegal pitch and advanced to third on a single by Whittington. Reaves then uncorked a wild pitch to allow Daigle to score.
Whittington would eventually come home on a single by junior outfielder Maddie Edmonston and an error by Hannah Stirton. Watts plated the inning’s final run, scoring Edmonston with an RBI groundout and giving SLU a 4-0 lead.
SLU junior Lacey Hill lost a little control in the bottom of the second inning, walking the bases loaded with two outs. Briana Whisenhunt then beat out an infield single to cut the Lady Lion advantage to 4-1.
The Bears threatened in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with two outs versus Hill. However, Hill forced Audrey Pratt to fly out to Edmonston in center to maintain the three-run cushion.
SLU added to its lead in the top of the fifth inning. Gibson led off with a single and was replaced by junior Peyton Sutton. Sutton would eventually score an unearned run on an error by Kate Meyers.
UCA answered by sending 10 to the plate to take the lead in the bottom of the frame. Errors by McCoy and Ramon helped along a five-run inning for the Bears. Three of the runs were unearned, as the Bears took a 6-5 lead.
Ort drew a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh inning, but Gomness came in and closed the door for her third save of the season.
SLU – 130 010 0 – 5 10 2 (22-24, 9-11 SLC)
UCA – 010 050 x – 6 9 2 (19-30, 9-11 SLC)
Lacey Hill, Tanner Wright (5), Kasey Nielson (5) and Carlie Whittington, Brennan Bourgeois (5). Ellie Reaves, Kailla Searcy (2), Nicole Fullilove (6), Kayla Gomness (7) and Ryan Holdiness. 2B – SLU: Mattie Ort (3). W – Searcy (3-4). L – Wright (3-2). Save – Gomness (3). T – 2:25. A – 343.