From SFA AthleticsSeeking their first Southland Conference series sweep of 2019, the SFA softball clinched its second league series of the season and took two from visiting Houston Baptist Friday afternoon at the SFA Softball Field in Nacogdoches.
The Ladyjacks (17-13, 5-3 Southland) lined 10 hits on the afternoon and scored eight runs, relying on strong pitching performances once again from freshman right-hander Kassidy Wilbur and junior righty Ashley Kriesel. SFA notched a 3-1 win in game one of the three-game series, before downing the Huskies (13-11, 3-5 Southland) 5-3 in the second contest of the day. A home run by senior first baseman Margarita Corona in the fifth inning of the opener and a five-hit, five-run third inning in the second game of the doubleheader highlighted the afternoon.
“Both (Kassidy) Wilbur and (Ashley) Kriesel held their own against a very solid HBU lineup,” head coach Nicole Dickson commented after the doubleheader sweep. “HBU did a good job of keeping our hitters off balance early in both games, but our players stuck to the plan and put together some timely hitting. I saw some maturity out of us and I thought our seniors had a big day. (Margarita) Corona, (Emily) Wolfe and (Lauren) Becker all stepped up at the plate when we needed them to. Tomorrow, we have to come out ready to fight. Game three is all about mental toughness and who wants it more.”
Game One | Win | SFA 3 – HBU 1
The Ladyjacks wasted very little time before taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the opening inning. After reaching on a Husky fielding error, leadoff sophomore second baseman Bryana Novegil scored an unearned run from second base following a successful sacrifice bunt from sophomore designated player Triniti Kendzior and an RBI fielder’s choice to third from freshman right fielder Alex Hedspeth.
In a game that saw just seven combined hits, HBU got two of its three hits in the top of the third, including a game-tying solo home run over the left center field fence by designated player Caitlyn Brockway. A scoreless fourth inning would ensue before Corona stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and crushed a 2-2 pitch high over left field for her team-best sixth dinger of the season. Her solo shot giving the lead by to SFA at 2-1. The Ladyjacks then tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, scoring on a one-out RBI single up the middle by junior left fielder Madison Clements.
Wilbur struck out two in the seventh to and did not allow a hit in the final four innings of the contest to secure the game one victory. Corona finished the game 1-for-2 with an RBI, run scored and a walk, while redshirt sophomore center fielder Brittany Crawford went 1-for-1 with a run scored and a walk. Wilbur (10-9) earned her ninth complete game win of the season after striking out nine and allowing just three hits in 31 total batters faced. The Huskies’ Brockway closed out the game 1-for-2 with two walks as right-handed starter Jessica Patak (4-7) took the loss in the circle after allowing two earned runs and walking two with just one strikeout. HBU righty reliever Elliot Estes tossed the final inning and struck out one.
Game Two | Win | SFA 5 – HBU 3
Claiming six hits in the second game of the afternoon, the Ladyjacks used a five-run bottom third inning and strong pitching from Kriesel to hold off the Huskies. Following two hitless innings of play and two and a half scoreless innings, SFA’s offense erupted in the bottom of the third. A walk and a single to right field by senior shortstop Emily Wolfe led to an RBI double through the left side by Novegil to give the Ladyjacks a 1-0 lead. Moments later, Kendzior singled to right field for an RBI and Corona reached on a fielder’s choice to allow Novegil to score, making it 3-0. A two-out RBI single up the middle from junior catcher Lindsay Gregory gave SFA a 4-0 advantage, before a two-out single to right field by Crawford gave the Ladyjacks their fifth run of the game.
Uneventful fourth and fifth innings took place prior to the visiting team claiming two runs on two hits in the top of the sixth. A leadoff single and a walk preceded a Ladyjack fielding error as HBU catcher Heidi Jaquez reached home plate from second base. A second Husky single in the inning gave HBU bases loaded with just one out before an Amber Lotz RBI sacrifice fly to center field made it a 5-2 contest. The Huskies got within two in the top of the seventh when Jaquez knocked out a two-out solo home run to right center, however, a Kriesel strike out thwarted any further chances for HBU. Both Novegil and Kendzior completed the game 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored, while Wolfe was 1-for-2 with a run. Kriesel (5-4) notched her fourth complete game win of the season by striking out eight and allowing just four hits in 29 total batters faced. Jaquez finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored for the Huskies. HBU right-hander Emma Guindon (5-3) threw all six innings, taking the loss after giving up six hits and five earned runs with four strikeouts and only one walk.