NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Ashley Struchtemeyer drove in the game-winning run with a double to left-center field in the ninth inning, lifting Stephen F. Austin to a 4-3 win over Centenary Wednesday at SFA Field. The victory stops a four-game losing streak.
The Ladyjacks improve to 21-12 on the year with their second victory this season over Centenary (9-25).
Struchtemeyer's game-winner scored Briana Bishop all the way from first. She had led off the ninth with an infield single. Struchtemeyer went 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead SFA at the plate.
Monika Covington pitched the final four innings of the game in relief to pick up the win, improving her record to 9-7. She held the Ladies scoreless on four hits and a walk, recording two strikeouts.
SFA took an early lead with two runs in the bottom of the first. Bethany Brown led off with a triple off the wall in right-center, then scored when Kendal Harper pulled a base knock through the right side of the infield. The next batter, Kayla Gutowski, was hit by a pitch, moving Harper to second.
After a fly ball for the first out of the inning, Struchtemeyer loaded the bases with a single to left. Harper then trotted home when Brittany Caruthers drew a walk with a full count. Centenary escaped further damage with a strikeout and a fly ball to strand all three runners.
The Ladies responded with three runs in their half of the second. After Kelsey Regan reached with a one-out single, SFA starter Angela White wrapped a pair of free passes around a strikeout to load the bases with two down. Catcher Brittany Caruthers tried to throw behind Rachel Conard at second base on a pitchout, but the ball got away, allowing her to move to third and Regan to score.
Callie Herrington then stole second and moved to third when Caitlin Cavarra brought Conard home with a base knock to right. Cavarra then took second when Caruthers' throw down on her steal attempt was low and bounced into the outfield, allowing Herrington to score the go-ahead run for Centenary. All told, the Ladies put up three runs on two hits and a pair of errors in the frame.
SFA would tie the score in the bottom half. Michele Huffman chopped one into the dirt in front of the plate for a leadoff single, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brown. Harper then sacrificed Huffman over to third, and Gutowski brought her home with a single back through the box.
White retired the Ladies quietly in the third then gave way to Lauren Luetge to start the fourth. She teamed with Covington to hold Centenary scoreless on six hits over the next six innings.
Meanwhile, SFA put up six hits of its own between the third and eighth innings but left a runner stranded in every frame except the fourth. The Ladyjacks left a total of 12 runners on base.
Harper went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Bishop was 2-for-5 with a run scored. Brown, Gutowski, Caruthers, Karissa Jones, Amber Price and Huffman all hit safely once.
White was charged with one earned run on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts in three innings of work. Luetge threw two innings and allowed just one hit with one strikeout.
The Ladyjacks will resume Southland Conference play this weekend when they host Southeastern Louisiana in a three-game series. The action will start with a doubleheader Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.