ALEXANDRIA, La. (LSUA) - The LSUA softball team continued its impressive start to the 2019 season by completing its first conference series sweep in the team’s first RRAC series of the season with a 5-4 win over the Texas A&M – Texarkana Eagles Saturday afternoon at Generals Field.
The Generals had a chance to blow the game wide open right at the outset as LSUA loaded the bases with just one out in the bottom of the first inning. Sierrah Anderson got the Generals on the board as her sacrifice fly to center was plenty deep enough to score Bailey McCleary from third and give LSUA a 1-0 lead. However, a pop out retired the side as the Eagles were able to limit the damage.
Texas A&M – Texarkana got that run back in the top of the third inning. After narrowly avoiding popping up a bunt for a double play for the second time in the game, a RBI triple by Hannah Cooper down the right field line tied the game at 1-1. But the game wouldn’t stay tied long as LSUA retook the lead in the bottom half of the frame. With runners on first and second with one out, Sierrah Anderson laid down a sacrifice bunt that the Eagles pitcher threw away, allowing Lauren Rachal to keep moving around third and come home to give the Generals the lead. RyLeigh Rutherford then helped her own cause by dropping base hit into left-center to score both Lakyn Wales and Anderson to make it 4-1 LSUA when the third inning ended.
An error came back to bite LSUA in the fifth as the one out miscue allowed Jaden Lance on, who would eventually come around to score on a two-out RBI single by Cooper to cut the LSUA lead down to 4-2. The Generals got that run back in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out rally as Emily Daniel picked up a pinch hit base hit, and then Karsen Kreps brought her home with a double just out to the reach of a diving left fielder along the foul line to make it 5-2.
The Eagles wouldn’t go away, however, working their own bit of two out magic to get the game back on edge. With runners on first and second and two away, Lauren Huff put the ball down the left field line to score Kacey Maines and Hannah Adams and cut the lead down to one. But a bit of over-aggression spoiled the rally as Huff was thrown out trying to stretch the hit from a double to a triple, helping keep LSUA in the lead.
With LSUA unable to extend the lead any further in the sixth, things got a little difficult for the Generals in the final inning as a one out double and walk put the leading run on base with just one out. Undaunted, pitcher Abbey McMillian, who was making her first appearance on the weekend in the closer role, struck out the next two batters following the walk to complete the sweep.
“This was a good way to start the conference portion of our schedule,” said LSUA co-head coach Adam Burch. “Last night we had to rally in the final inning for a win and today we had to do the opposite, stop a rally to close out a victory. Our composure and everyone’s belief in their role was tested and we got good experience being successful in those situations, and I believe that’ll help us as we continue on this season.”
RyLeigh Rutherford (6-2) threw 5.2 innings in her second start of the weekend, giving up five hits and four runs, three earned, struck out two and walked three as she picked up her second win in the circle in the series. McKell Marble threw two-thirds of an inning and gave up two hits without allowing a run. Abbey McMillian came on with a runner on second and one out in the seventh inning, walked the first batter she faced before striking out the next two to earn her first save of the season.
Lauren Rachal continues to swing a hot bat, going three of four at the plate to lead the LSUA offense, getting a double and run scored. Karsen Kreps was two for three with a double and RBI. Rutherford helped her own case for a win in the circle by getting a base hit and two RBI at the plate. Sierrah Anderson picked up LSUA’s only other RBI with her sacrifice fly, getting it without a base hit in the contest.
LSUA (14-5, 3-0 RRAC) steps out of conference for a home midweek doubleheader against NCAA Division I team Arkansas – Pine Bluff. First pitch against the Golden Lions (0-17, 0-3 SWAC) is set for 1:00 P.M. at Generals Field.