From SFA Athletics
Off to its best start through 12 games since 2008, the SFA softball team cruised to its second-straight non-conference home win of 2019 with an 8-0 rout of Texas Southern in six innings Wednesday night at the SFA Softball Field. The Ladyjacks (9-3), who picked up their second run-rule victory of the young season, lined 10 hits in the midweek tilt and used a five-run, six-hit sixth inning to top the visiting Lady Tigers (0-4). Senior first baseman Margarita Corona went 3-for-4 for the evening with three RBI as her two-run home run in the bottom of the opening inning put SFA ahead 3-0.
“I loved the way we played defense today,” head coach Nicole Dickson commented after the win. “We made some great plays in the infield and (Cassidy) Tucker played really well in right field. Our energy was fun and contagious in the dugout. Offensively, we set the tone early and then finished strong. Our lefties did their job and got on base in the middle of our lineup as (Margarita) Corona did what Corona does, keeps it simple and hits the ball hard. In the circle, (Jordan) Llinas and (Ashley) Kriesel located well and had solid composure.”
“This afternoon we played a very clean game,” continued coach Dickson. “I’m proud of the way we executed and competed today. It was nice midweek competition for us headed into a high-level tournament at South Alabama this weekend.”
The Ladyjacks got on the board early and never loosened their grip on defense and on the rubber. Following a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first, sophomore second baseman Bryana Novegil singled to third base with a bunt before she and freshman designated player Alex Hedspeth successfully made a double steal. After stealing third base, Hedspeth headed home on a Texas Southern throwing error to give SFA a 1-0 lead. Corona then stepped to the plate and cranked a high-arching ball down the left field line and over the fence on a 2-1 pitch for her second homer of the season. The top of the second inning showcased some of the Ladyjacks’ best defense of the season.
With the Lady Tigers loading the bases with no outs thanks to a trio of singles, junior right-handed starting pitcher Jordan Llinas stood her ground as SFA’s infield made a pair of run-stopping plays. Llinas struck out the fourth batter faced in the frame before junior North Texas transfer third baseman Lindsay Gregory connected with junior Des Moines Area Community College transfer catcher Bailey Richards to keep the visitors scoreless. Offense came at a premium for the following four innings before the Ladyjacks erupted in the bottom of the sixth.
SFA tallied six singles in the frame and scored a pair of unearned runs thanks to a pair of Texas Southern passed balls. Corona led off the inning with a single down the right field line and sophomore pinch hitter singled to second base, before redshirt sophomore center fielder Brittany Crawford reached first on a dropped third strike as freshman pinch runner Kaelyn Roberts made it to home plate. Seconds later, Gregory singled to the pitcher for an RBI as senior pinch runner Courtney Brown scored.
Leading 5-0, the Ladyjacks got a single to right field from freshman pinch hitter Mackenzie Bennett and an RBI single from junior left fielder Madison Clements. SFA went ahead 7-0 with no outs in the inning when senior shortstop Emily Wolfe drew an RBI walk. After a strikeout and fielder’s choice, the Ladyjacks had made it all the way through their lineup with Corona stepping back to the plate. She drove in the final run of the game on a 0-1 pitch with single up the middle to score Clements. Gregory and Clements both finished the game 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while Llinas (2-0) picked up her second win of the season inside the circle with no walks and a pair of strikeouts.
With the SFA pitching staff giving up just five hits and walking none, junior Galveston College transfer righty Ashley Kriesel earned her first save as a Ladyjack by tossing two innings in relief, striking out three and allowing just one hit. Five different Lady Tigers recorded a hit as starting pitcher Mariah Youngblood (0-1) took the loss after throwing two complete innings and allowing three earned runs.