The Sam Houston State softball team fell victim to a sweep at the hands of rival Stephen F. Austin this week.
After losing a pair of games on Tuesday by scores of 6-3 and 10-5, the Bearkats came out flat on Wednesday and were unable to turn the tide, getting shut out 7-0.
The series was originally to be played in Nacogdoches, TX, but was relocated to Huntsville because of weather conditions at SFA. The losses halted the Bearkats winning streak at three games and started a three-game losing streak for SHSU. Following the three-game series, SHSU’s record dropped to 4-11 overall and 0-3 in the Southland Conference.
“We needed to play better,” Head Coach Bob Brock said. “We did some nice things offensively, but we were unreliable on defense. We made too many bobbles at the wrong time. We gave SFA too many chances for three outs.”
Part one of Tuesday’s doubleheader was a back and forth battle between the two ball clubs as they traded leads three times throughout the game.
Morgan Mikulin took the mound for SHSU and pitched a solid game, striking out four batters and allowing one earned run on seven hits.
Entering the fourth inning, SHSU trailed 2-1. Centerfielder Kim Damian tied the ball game at 2-2 with a leadoff home run to give the Kats life. After a few walks and steals, SHSU left the inning with a 3-2 lead.
The Bearkats held the lead going into the seventh inning. Three outs away from closing out a fourth straight win, the wheels fell off for the Bearkats.
The top of the inning saw three defensive errors, along with two hits and four unearned runs. The defensive miscues put SHSU in a three-run deficit going into the bottom of the inning.
With one last chance to rally, the Kats were unable to produce. The game-ending strikeout-looking was indicative of the game’s end outcome: looking at a conference win go by in a flash.
Game two of the doubleheader started in a similar fashion.
After a two-run opening inning for the Kats, SFA responded with a two-run second inning to tie the game.
SHSU bounced back with a three-run third inning, stemming from a bases-loaded double from catcher Ashley Isbell. The three-run hit gave SHSU the lead at 5-2. But once again, SFA again responded with a two-run fourth inning.
To close out the fourth inning, Mikulin came in to relieve starter Tomi Garrison, who struck out two batters and allowed four runs on seven hits.
In the bottom of the inning, the Kats were unable to knock in a run. SHSU recorded three hits in the inning, but came away with no runs, leaving three runners stranded on base. Then it was dj vu for SHSU.
Heading into the fifth, the Bearkats held the 5-4 lead in the game. That is until the defense fell apart like in game one.
SHSU surrendered three hits, three errors, and five unearned runs in the top of the inning. Mikulin struck out a batter to get out of the inning with SHSU trailing 9-5. From that point, the Bearkats were unable to find life and went on to lose the game, 10-5.
“It was a rough series but we stayed together as a team and kept pushing through,” Isbell said. “It’ll come. We’ve got the team. It’ll come. We just need to be solid on defense and stay solid on offense because we know we can do it.”
After back-to-back losses Tuesday, the Bearkats were unable to turn things around Wednesday.
After scoring a combined eight runs in the first two games, SHSU was unable to scratch across a single run in the 7-0 loss to SFA.
Mikulin took the mound for the Kats and was again backed by sloppy defensive play. She allowed three earned runs on nine hits and struck out nine batters. But the defense struggled again, committing three errors that resulted in four unearned runs.
Throughout the series, the Kats allowed a total of 23 runs, but only nine were earned. SHSU committed 10 errors in the three-game series, along with 14 unearned runs.
“The defense wasn’t there for us,” Mikulin said. “We were not as good as we usually are. We have to come out, forget about these losses and realize that we have a lot of season left. We have to come out with our heads up high and be ready to play ball the way we know how.”
The Bearkats look to get back on the winning path this weekend when they take on Texas State in San Marcos for a three-game series.
The action begins at 1 p.m. Saturday with a doubleheader, followed by the series finale Sunday at noon.