CONWAY, Ark. – Central Arkansas pitcher Kayla Gomness held Southeastern Louisiana to three hits and pitched the Bears to a 5-1 victory in the Southland Conference softball series finale Saturday afternoon at Farris Field.
Sophomore catcher Whitney Sullivan, junior outfielder Maddie Edmonston and senior infielder Mychal Truxillo collected the lone hits for SLU (22-25, 9-12 Southland). Sophomore shortstop Jaquelyn Ramon scored the Lady Lions’ lone run and junior infielder Mahalia Gibson had Southeastern’s only RBI.
With the three-game series sweep, Central Arkansas improved to 20-30 overall and 10-11 in league action.
The Lady Lions jumped on top thanks to a pair of UCA miscues in the top of the first inning. Ramon reached when first baseman Kaylyn Shepherd dropped the throw on her grounder.
Ramon, who became SLU’s career stolen bases leader, then promptly stole second. Ryan Holdiness’ throw skipped into centerfield, allowing Ramon to take an extra base. Gibson then hit a grounder to short to allow Ramon to race home with the game’s first run.
UCA answered in the bottom of the second, as SLU junior starter Rachel Hayes (7-8) walked Kate Meyers and Morgan Felts to open the inning. Junior Lacey Hill came in and gave up a two-run single to Hannah Stirton. Later in the frame, Stirton slid under the tag of Sullivan following a grounder by Briana Whisenhunt to give the Bears a 3-1 advantage.
Sullivan led off the SLU half of the third inning with a single and was replaced by junior Carlie Whittington on the base paths. A pair of groundouts moved Whittington to third with two outs. Ramon then hit a slow roller down the third base line, but UCA third baseman Audrey Pratt scooped it and gunned Whittington at home to keep the Bear lead at 3-1.
Southeastern had another prime scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth inning. Gibson reached on an error, then Truxillo followed with a single to put a pair of runners on with no outs. Gomness (13-15) followed by retiring the next three Lady Lions to get out of the inning unscathed.
Central Arkansas added to its lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Consecutive doubles by Stirton and Whisenhunt pushed the Bears’ advantage to 4-1. The Bears took advantage of two Lady Lion errors to add to their lead with an unearned run in the fifth inning.
A single by Edmonston and a Daigle walk would be all Gomness allowed over the final three innings to close out the victory.
Southeastern will close out its 2017 regular season road schedule on Tuesday, traveling to Southern for a 3 p.m. non-conference contest in Baton Rouge. Fans can receive in-game updates via Twitter at www.twitter.com/sluathletics.
SLU – 100 000 0 – 1 3 3 (22-25, 9-12 SLC)
UCA – 030 110 x – 5 7 3 (20-30, 10-11 SLC)
Rachel Hayes, Lacey Hill (2) and Whitney Sullivan. Kayla Gomness and Ryan Holdiness. W – Gomness (13-15). L – Hayes (7-8). 2B – UCA: Hannah Stirton (6), Briana Whisenhunt (8). T – 1:54. A – 221.