NATCHITOCHES, Louisiana -- Sam Houston held off a late Southeastern rally to win their Southland Conference tournament first round game 9-6 Friday afternoon at Demon Diamond in Natchitoches, La.
The victory advances the No. 3 seeded Bearkats into the second round against No. 2 seed Northwestern State in a contest scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night.
Sam Houston held an 8-0 lead but gave up six runs in the top of the fifth.
"We looked like we were in position to get a run-rule win but they got some kids on base and the home runs made things kind of shaky," head coach Bob Brock said.
Tori Benavidez started things quickly for the Bearkats, rifling the Demons’ first pitch into left field. Alyssa Coggins reached on an error. Benavidez advanced to third then scored on a sacrifice fly by Kim Damian. Coggins made it 2-0, scoring on a single by Tiffany Castillo.
The Kats added a third run in the bottom of the second as Ashley Isbel and Jessica Slater blasted back-to-back doubles to right center.
Following a scoreless third, Sam Houston exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fourth. Two runs scored on a bases-loaded Lions error attempting to get the force at home. Coggins added a run with a single and Adams picked up two RBIs with a double to put SHSU up 8-0.
Sam Houston appeared on the verge of its first run-rule victory in 11 Southland tournament appearances. But Southeastern rallied for six runs in the top of the fifth highlight by a three-run homer by Amber Sather and a solo shot by Kelsey Nichols.
Tiffany Castillo’s double in the bottom of the sixth got one run back for the Bearkats.
Shelby Lancaster (13-7) was the winning pitcher for Sam Houston, not allowing a base runner until the third inning and shutting out the lines for four innings. Meme Quinn picked up her second save of the season.