NATCHITOCHES, La. - Sam Houston State exploded for five runs in the fourth inning en route to an 7-0 victory over Southeastern Louisiana to open the Southland Conference Tournament Wednesday morning at Lady Demon Diamond.
Senior Ashley Goetz, junior Taylar Fuselier, sophomore Bailey White and freshman Kyndal Kutac provided SLC Player and Pitcher of the Year Lindsey McLeod with plenty of run support to advance in the winners’ bracket. The top-seeded Bearkats (32-21) will face No. 2 Nicholls Thursday at 11 a.m. The Colonels (33-20) beat Northwestern State 9-0 in five innings Wednesday.
Sam Houston State broke the game open in the fourth when junior Megan McDonald walked, and junior Tiffany Thompson reached on an error with no outs. Sophomore Brooke Malia moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, and Goetz shot an RBI single up the middle to break the scoreless tie.
Fuselier followed by sneaking a two-run single down the left-field line, and White ripped a two-run double to right-center field to make it 5-0.
McLeod (19-8) was cruising in the circle in the meantime. She only allowed four hits and struck out 11 Lions for her 14th double-digit strikeout game of the season.
Malia hit her team-high 16th double in the fifth to set up an RBI single to left by Kutac. Sam Houston’s other run came in the sixth on an RBI groundout by White.
Before Wednesday’s game, the Bearkats were presented with the Southland Conference regular-season championship trophy, the program’s first honor since 1993. McLeod (Player and Pitcher of the Year and first-team All-SLC), Thompson (first-team All-SLC), McDonald (first-team All-SLC), Fuselier (second-team All-SLC), Malia (third-team All-SLC) and Sheridan Fisher and Kutac (both honorable-mention All-SLC) were all recognized for their accomplishments this season.