Two and out for Mean Green

After losing a game to Texas A&M University and winning two hard fought games against North Texas, the Sam Houston State softball team now stands at 4-1 in their season.A five-run explosion in the fourth inning and a strong pitching performance by senior All-American Amanda Scarborough helped secure the win for Texas A&M University over Sam Houston State. The No.3 Aggies beat the Bearkats 6-0 at College Station this past Wednesday. Brandi Crnkovic was the starting pitcher for the Bearkats. Fresh off a perfect game against Prairie View A&M, Crnkovic held the Aggies strong for three straight innings until Texas A&M finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth. After the first batter of the inning grounded out to first base, freshman Kelsey Spittler blasted a solo homer over the right center field fence to start the momentum for the Aggies. “We made a couple of mistakes. We just couldn’t stop them for a while,” SHSU head coach Bob Brock said. After Aggie freshman Natalie Villareal and sophomore Macie Morrow both scored to give the Aggies a 3-0 lead, senior Jaime Hinshaw then hit a two run double to further extend A&M’s lead to 5-0. Finally after three and one third innings pitched, Crnkovic was relieved by sophomore Morgan Mikulin, who quickly got the final two outs to end the inning. After a hitless top of the fifth for Sam Houston, the Aggies then scored their final run when freshman Andrea Tovar, pinch running for Rhiannon Kliesing who doubled to left center, scored on a single to shortstop by Macie Morrow. After the Aggies recorded the final out on a foul ball hit to first base, the Bearkats suffered their first loss of the season and became 2-1 while Texas A&M improved to 5-1 on the season.The Bearkats returned to the diamond against North Texas in a doubleheader at Bearkat Softball Stadium on Sunday.From the start of game one, it was apparent that the team that blinked first would be the team to win the game. With strong defense supporting both pitchers, the game was kept scoreless through the first five innings.Then in the bottom of the sixth inning, Sam Houston broke free. Lead off batter Whitney Wilson hit a hard shot that bounced off the third baseman for a single, and then stole second to start the inning. Designated hitter Mandy Huckabee then singled to right field to place runners at the corners for the Bearkats. With runners in scoring position and a three-two count, shortstop Tanya Hooser blasted a double to center field to score the first run of the game. Left fielder Kendra Spivey then returned the favor by hitting a sharp, two-out single into left field to bring in Hooser and score the only other run of the game. After North Texas’s designated hitter Taylor Johnston grounded out to second base to end the game, Crnkovic recorded the win. In the seven innings pitched, Crnkovic allowed only 3 hits in the 23 plates appearances by North Texas.In the chilly nightcap of, Sam Houston State didn’t have to wait as long to score. Both Amy Brown and Sarah Parich singled to shortstop to start the bottom of the first inning. Then on a sacrifice bunt by center fielder Lauren Burns, North Texas’s third baseman committed an error that scored Brown. The Bearkats would hold the lead until the top of the fifth inning when North Texas came up to bat. After Kadie Platt singled to center field, Brown committed an error, followed by Taylor Johnston’s single to load the bases for North Texas. Lauren Bergstrom then hit a two-out line shot to left field to tie the game 1-1. North Texas then took the lead in the top of the sixth when Kristina Fowler hit a deep fly ball over the left field fence for a homerun.However, the Bearkats dug down and fought back in the bottom of the inning. Hooser had an infield single to start the inning, and advanced to third on a single by Spivey who followed right behind her. Then with one out, Parich hit a gapper between center and right field for a two run double, and gave Sam Houston the lead, 3-2. This would be the final score after North Texas’s Mallory Cantler struck out looking.At the end of the day, Sam Houston State accumulated a total of 21 hits out of 54 at bats, producing a .389 batting average, and only one error. The Bearkats will play a doubleheader against the University of Houston in Houston on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. before beginning a month-long road trip. The team returns to Bearkat Softball Stadium to play a doubleheader against McNeese State on Tuesday, March 25 at 4 p.m.

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