BROWNWOOD, TX -- After a long layoff between games, Louisiana College softball returned to action on Friday in their American Southwest Conference opening series at Howard Payne University. The Wildcats would end up splitting Friday's doubleheader taking the first game 6-1 but dropping the second 7-1. The rubber game will be played Saturday starting at 11 a.m.
After two scoreless innings to start the game, two HPU errors setup the first Wildcat run of the day. An error then a steal by Sami Walters put her in scoring position for Alyssa Ross's double to put the Cats on the board 1-0. Back-to-back singles later in the inning from Kaitlyn Moore and Samantha Cetta added two more and gave LC the 3-0 lead after three innings.
Another quick inning from starter Sarah Gartman got the Wildcats back to the plate where they continued the offensive pressure. Two base hits to start the inning put a pair of runners on base, but two straight line outs looked as if it might end the threat. Kamryn Jordan delivered a 2-run single up the middle to make the score 5-0 Wildcats.
Gartman continued to roll through the next three innings, only allowing one run on a 2-out double in the sixth inning. Cetta got that run back immediately with a 2-out, RBI double of her own in the top of the seventh. A 2-out single and walk in the bottom of the seventh made the final pitches much more interesting for the Wildcats despite the five-run lead. Gartman though was able to get the final out in shallow right center as Briley Johnston made a running catch, colliding with right fielder Allie Liles while making the grab.
Howard Payne would get on the board first in the second game, manufacturing a run on two sacrifice bunts to take the 1-0 lead after the first inning. The Wildcats went down in order in the second and HPU would add to their small lead with a bases loaded, RBI groundout to go up 2-0. Wildcat pitcher Cameron Crochet would limit the damage to just the lone run despite the bases loaded, no-out scenario.
LC would cut the lead in half in the top of the next inning as Sami Walters raced home from second on a ground ball to second that was mishandled off the bat of Briley Johnston. The score remained 2-1 until a Jacket leadoff double in the fourth set the stage for them to push across two more runs and extend their lead to 4-1 by the end of the inning.
The Wildcats had leadoff doubles in both the fifth and sixth innings, but each time were unable to bring them in to score or spark a rally that would close the gap. Five runs in the final three inning of the game for HPU pushed their lead to 7-1, too great for the Wildcats to come back from.
The final game of the series will being at 11 a.m. Saturday morning in Brownwood, Texas.