NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- Stephen F. Austin's Faith Talley notched her sixth home run of the season, blasting a solo shot in the fifth inning, but that proved to be the Ladyjacks' sole offensive spark as SFA fell to rival Sam Houston State 5-1 in the opening game of the season-ending three-game series.
With the loss, the Ladyjacks remain a half game ahead of the Bearkats in the Southland Conference standings as the two teams battle for seeding for the SLC tournament next week. SFA is currently the number five seed and need one win over its Piney Woods rival to lock up that spot for the tournament in Lake Charles next week.
Talley's home run on the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth inning, sending a shot over the wall in left center. SFA threatened on two other occasions on the day, loading the bases in the third and getting two runners on later in the fifth, but the Ladyjacks stranded all five runners, generating just four hits on the day.
Sam Houston State got on the board quickly, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning to take the early lead. Starter Makayla Sikes put together six strong innings after that, allowing the Bearkats to just two runs on two hits down the stretch as both of those runs came off a pinch-hit two-run home run in the top of the seventh to seal the win.
Bearkat starting pitcher Lindsey McLeod caused fits for SFA all afternoon, striking out five of the first six Ladyjack batters and finishing with nine on the day, limiting the Ladyjacks to just four hits. She was especially strong against the top half of the SFA lineup as the top five batters combined to go 0-for-14 on the day.