LU Softball splits double header vs UH Cougars
BEAUMONT, Texas - Senior right-hander Laura Napoli became the first pitcher in Lamar University softball history to record 50 career wins as the Cardinals split a pair of extra-inning games with the visiting Houston Cougars on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals won the opener 3-2 in nine innings before dropping a 6-3 decision in 11 innings in the nightcap. The Cardinals are now 23-19 on the season, while Houston moved its record to 25-15.
Game 1: LU 3, Houston 2 (9)
Napoli scattered 11 hits over nine innings, walking two and striking out two for her 11th win of the season.
Houston scored single runs in the first and fourth innings to take a 2-0 lead before the Cardinals plated runs in the sixth and seventh innings to send the game into extra frames. Taylor Davis got the sixth inning started with a one-out double. Tristin Anders ran for Davis and scored when Shelby Henderson reached on a two-out error.
The Cardinals tied the game in the seventh when Davis drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs to send the game to extra innings. In the ninth, Savana Guidry led off with a bunt single and raced around the bases after the Cougars misplayed Shannon Klaus’ grounder to third, throwing the ball into right field to give LU its sixth walk-off win of the season and 32nd since reviving the program in 2013.
Houston had four errors in the game, as all three LU runs were unearned.
“We stole the first game,” LU coach Holly Bruder said. “They outhit us, but we made the most of our chances.”
Houston starter Savannah Heebner (16-6) took the complete-game loss. Heebner allowed seven hits and three unearned runs. She walked two and struck out three.
Napoli was supported by an LU defense that played errorless ball in the game.
Game 2: Houston 6, LU 3 (11)
The nightcap saw Houston rally from a 3-1 deficit with two runs in the sixth before scoring three runs in the top of the 11th to dash LU’s hopes for a sweep.
Davis had three hits, while Talley had two for the Cardinals.
After Houston took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the Cardinals responded with one in the first and two in the second to lead 3-1. Guidry scored on a passed ball in the first to tie the score before Maddy Myers had an RBI single and Shelby Hughston had an RBI grounder in the second to make it 3-1.
That’s the way the score stood until the sixth the Cougars tied it on a single by Kaylin Crumpton and a bases-loaded walk to Rachel Hill.
“We let the game get away,” Bruder said. “We have to close it out when we’re up by two runs in the sixth inning.”
The Cardinals had their chances, stranding four runners over the first three extra innings before Houston had four hits and took advantage of an error to score three times in the 11th.
“It’s frustrating because we made an error and they got some infield hits,” Bruder said. “But overall, we played well today against a quality opponent. The effort was there.”
Napoli (11-10) took the loss in relief, allowing five hits and three runs, two earned, over five innings. For the day, Napoli threw 223 pitches, 129 of them for strikes.
“Laura did a great job today,” Bruder said. “She gave it everything she had.”
LU starter Taylor Gruell did not factor in the decision. The freshman righty allowed five hits and three runs, all earned, over six innings.
Trystan Melancon (6-6) got the win in relief for the Cougars with two innings of hitless relief. Houston starter Presley Bell allowed eight hits and three runs, two earned, over nine innings.
“Just like we stole the first game, I think Houston stole the second game,” Bruder said. “We definitely had our chances, but didn’t capitalize.”
ON DECK: The Cardinals head to Central Arkansas for a three-game Southland Conference series. The series schedule was altered because of the weather forecast for Conway, Arkansas. The teams are slated to now play a doubleheader at noon Saturday and a single game at noon Sunday. LU returns home April 20-21 to host McNeese in a three-game Southland Conference series. The Cardinals and Cowgirls play a doubleheader at 5 p.m. April 20 and a single game at 3 p.m. April 21.
TICKETS: For tickets to all LU home games, please call 409-880-1715, or visit www.LamarCardinals.com. The Montagne Center ticket office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The ticket window at the LU Softball Complex will open one hour prior to first pitch on game days. LU students receive free admission to home games with their Cardinal One card, while Junior Cardinal Club members are admitted for free when they present their membership badge.