Softball beats Stephen F. Austin at home, looks to continue winning streak on road

The UCA softball team added three wins against the Stephen F. Austin State University Ladyjacks this weekend to its 11-game home win streak.

The two teams faced each other for the first time this season March 13 at home.

SFA started out strong, getting two runs in the top of the first inning.

Junior outfielder Heather Hollingsworth and senior infielder Shalie Day scored the two runs for the Ladyjacks.

UCA started out just as hot, getting four runs in the bottom of the first.

Junior utility player Sarah Bigej and sophomore outfielder Briana Whisenhunt scored off a double to center field by junior catcher Jessie Taylor.

Taylor and sophomore outfielder Hannah Stirton scored after Stirton hit a home run to right center, making the score 4-2.

Senior shortstop Hayley Parker tripled down the right field line in the bottom of the third, allowing Stirton and Bigej to add two runs, making the score 6-2.

For its final act, UCA scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth after Taylor hit a home run with Bigej and Whisenhunt on base, making the score 9-2.

SFA was unable to mount any comeback in the top of the seventh, and the Bears took the first of three games 9-2.

The Bears edged out the Ladyjacks in the first game of the doubleheader 13-6 on March 14.

Both teams started out slower than the day before, with UCA scoring once in the bottom of the first after Stirton reached on a fielder’s choice, allowing junior outfielder Sam Forrest to score.

UCA added onto its lead in the bottom of the second after Forrest singled to left field and Parker scored.

The two teams combined for 13 runs in the third inning.

SFA started out with a home run to right center by sophomore infielder Brittany Lewis with freshman catcher Taylor Fraccastoro and sophomore infielder Taylor LeFlore on base.

The Bears started out down 3-2 in the bottom of the third, then went on to score 10 runs in the inning.

Stirton scored after a single by senior first basemen Ashley Boswell.

Freshmen infielder Audrey Pratt added a run when junior outfielder Amy Gunnells singled to right center.

Forrest hit a home run with the bases loaded, bringing in Gunnells, Boswell and Parker.

Taylor hit a home run down the left field line with Bigej and Stirton on base, and then Parker singled to the shortstop, allowing Pratt and Stirton to score, increasing the Bears’ lead 12-3.

The Ladyjacks started a comeback in the top of the fifth when Fraccastoro hit a home run to bring in freshman outfielder Annie Mehringer.

Lewis hit a home run to make the score 12-6.

The Bears picked up one last run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Whisenhunt singled to right field and sophomore utility player Tylor Dodson brought in the final run, making the score 13-6.

SFA was unable to come up with anything in the top of the seventh inning, ending the game.

The teams played the second game of the doubleheader and third of the series at 3 p.m. March 14.

The Ladyjacks gained the edge at first with Fraccastoro and LeFlore scoring off Lewis’ double.

The Bears picked up the offense in the bottom of the third after a home run by Boswell with Parker on base, tying the game 2-2.

UCA added two more runs in the third with scores by Whisenhunt and Gunnells after a single to center field by Bigej, making the score 4-2.

The Bears added one more run to their lead when Gunnells singled to left field and freshmen utility player Ryan Holdiness scored.

“We also had a solid defense throughout the weekend,” Gunnells said. “Essentially, we executed in all three aspects of the game to give us the sweep.”

SFA had a chance for a comeback, but was only able to score once more when Lewis grounded out to the pitcher and LeFlore scored.

UCA traveled to Stillwater, Oklahoma yesterday to play the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls before a three-game series against the Abilene Christian University Wildcats March 20-21 in Abilene, Texas.

The Cowgirls are 12-13 on the season prior to yesterday’s game, while the Wildcats are 4-18 over on the season and 1-5 in conference play.

This is the first time UCA and ACU have met up since ACU moved to the Southland Conference in 2013.

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