Twenty-five days and 16 games later, Sam Houston State softball finally gets to play a game on its home field.
The Kats host Mary-Hardin Baylor in a doubleheader this afternoon after going 5-11 in its opening 16 games away.
“Being on the road is really rough,” junior designated hitter Dani Allen said. “Being on a bus for nine hours can be surprisingly draining physically. The first home game is always extremely exciting.”
SHSU heads into the doubleheader at Bearkat Softball Complex following a tough South Alabama Tournament in which the Kats dropped the final four games. The Kats produced only five runs in those four contests.
“So far this season, we have had a busy schedule,” senior infielder Sarah Allison said. “We’ve had a lot of players moving around on the field, and we’ve been working on syncing up as a team. That’s the purpose of the preseason tournaments, and I think we’re feeling pretty good right now.”
Junior transfer infielder Peyton Webb leads the Kats offensively with a .455 batting average. Allison has the most home runs and runs batted in for SHSU with five homers and 18 RBIs.
“My team’s biggest struggle has been consistency,” Allen said. “Individually, we will have an outstanding performance one game then falter the next. Throughout this season, I’m sure we will be able to harness our abilities and exhaust all our assets 100 percent during game time.”
UMHB boasts a 6-2 record with its only losses to Southwestern and Howard Payne. The Crusaders swept LeTourneau this past weekend in a three-game series 5-0, 8-6 and 9-0.
“Each game is a stepping stone, and we learn something every stride, whether it puts a win or a loss under our belt,” Allen said. “By taking all that we have learned in the past games and practices, we should be able to conquer any opponent that approaches our plate.”
Their bullpen holds a 2.28 ERA with three pitchers holding an ERA under 3.00. UMHB’s Haley Parker leads the pitchers with a 3-0 record and a 1.44 ERA. Teammate Tiffany Birdwell has a 2.62 ERA with a 1-1 record.
This will be the last tune-up before the Bearkats head into Southland Conference play this weekend against McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana. SHSU’s single game scheduled for Wednesday with Texas Southern has been moved to April 29 due to the threat of bad weather, according to Bearkat Athletics.
“[Today] our biggest goal is to win of course,” Allison said. “But mostly to prepare for our first conference games this weekend against McNeese. We need to play well tomorrow so we can go into Friday fresh and confident.”
Today’s first pitch is set for 3 p.m. The second game is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.