Sam Houston State is within one victory of the Southland Conference softball tournament title game after a 5-1 elimination victory over Southeastern Louisiana Friday night.
The Bearkats totaled nine hits and took advantage of five Lion wild pitches that accounted for three of Sam Houston’s scores. The loss eliminated the Lions from the tournament.
Northwestern State defeated Central Arkansas 5-2 to advance to the 2:05 p.m. title game.
To reach the finals and face the Demons, Sam Houston must take on the No. 4 seeded Bears in a 10:30 elimination game. Should the Kats win, they would have to post two wins over the Demons, the only unbeaten squad in the double elimination tournament. The finals will be telecast on ESPN3. A win over UCA would mark the Kats’ second consecutive appearance in the title game.
“We didn’t have as much offense in this game but we got the victory and are still playing,” Sam Houston head coach Bob Brock said. “Haley did another nice job in the circle, just like she has on Sundays all season. And Meme Quinn came up with some big strike outs late in the game.”
Sam Houston led from the start as Tori Benavidez led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple to center field. Alyssa Coggins singled to score Benavidez. Kim Damian doubled Coggins to third and the second baseman scored on a ground out by Hillary Adams as the Kats went up 2-0.
Southeastern threatened with runners on second and third with no outs. But Coggins fielded a hard hit ground ball, threw to home as catcher Ashley Isbell held onto the ball in a collision at home plate, then threw out the runner at second for a double play.
Sam Houston took advantage of three wild pitches by the Lions for two more runs in the second inning. Catcher Ashley Isbell doubled, was sacrificed to third and scored on a wild pitch on a ball four throw to Benavidez. The center fielder then scored on consecutive errant throws.
The Lions scored their lone run on four consecutive singles in the top of the fifth inning. The Lions threatened again in the sixth but Meme Quinn replaced starter Haley Baros in the circle and struck out three of the next four batters.
Baros (10-8), a third team All-Southland selection, earned the win spreading nine hits over five innings while allowing only one run.