The UCA softball team won three of five games at the 2015 Louisiana Classic on Feb. 6-8 to begin the season.
UCA junior utility player Sam Forest said the team played well its first time together.
“The players who came off the bench did really well,” she said. “It’s like we didn’t miss a beat. I think this year is our year to win the conference championship. We have gotten better in all aspects of the game.”
The Bears started the tournament beating the Tennessee State University Tigers 7-0 before losing to the North Carolina State University Wolfpack 7-0.
The Bears played University of the Incarnate Word for the first time Feb. 7 and won 13-2.
The Cardinals started off the game with a run in the first inning.
UIW sophomore outfielder Danielle Ramirez earned a run off a single by junior third basemen Shelbi Swenson.
UCA took the lead in the second inning after junior outfielder Amy Gunnells, senior first basemen Ashley Boswell and sophomore utility player Bailey Reynolds scored off a home run by Forrest, making the score 4-1.
The Bears added on to their lead after sophomore outfielder Briana Whisenhunt and junior catcher Jessie Taylor scored off Taylor’s home run.
The score was 6-1 at the end of the second inning.
The Bears scored again in the third inning after Boswell hit a home run, making the score 7-1.
No runs were scored in the fourth through sixth innings, but the Bears struck again in the seventh inning.
Sophomore outfielder Hannah Stirton scored off a single by Boswell.
Senior shortstop Hayley Parker and Reynolds scored off a double by Gunnells.
Boswell and Gunnells scored off a single by Forrest.
UCA’s last score was by Forrest after a single by Stirton.
Cardinals senior outfielder Taylor Johnson scored the game’s final run off a single by Ramirez.
The game’s final score was 13-2.
The Bears junior pitcher Shivaun Landeros had an earned run average of one facing 29 batters with six hits.
UCA lost 8-0 to the University of Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, on Feb. 7.
According to the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association, ULL is the ninth best team in the nation.
The Ragin’ Cajuns scored all their runs in the game’s later innings, scoring five in the fourth inning and three in the fifth, earning a run-rule victory.
The score remained tied until freshman infielder DJ Sanders hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring junior outfielder Cassidy White.
White subbed in earlier in the inning for junior infielder Kelsey Vincent, who reached on a single.
Four batters later, junior utility player Shellie Landry hit a grand slam, bringing the score to 5-0 in favor of the RC.
ULL scored its final three runs on a single by senior utility player Meagan Thomas, a fielder’s choice hit by Sanders and a double steal by freshman outfielder Kelli Martinez and Thomas.
In their final game of the tournament, the Bears run-ruled the Cardinals 9-0.
UCA took the lead in the second inning after Tori Seasor scored on a single by Whisenhunt.
The Bears struck again in the second inning after scores by Whisenhunt, Forrest and Gunnells off of a triple by junior utility player Sarah Bigej.
UCA ended the second inning with Bigej scoring after Taylor hit a home run, bringing the score to 6-0.
In the fifth, Parker and sophomore utility player Tylor Dodson scored off of a triple by
freshman utility player Ryan Holdiness, making the score 8-0.
The Bears finished the fifth ending when Holdiness scored after freshmen infielder Audrey Pratt scored
The Bears finished the fifth inning with nine runs, which satisfied the requirements for a mercy rule and secured UCA’s victory.
Senior pitcher Kylee Studioso said the team played great as a whole.
“Great pitching all weekend by the whole staff, solid defense from everyone and hitting was all we could ask for,” she said. “This just goes to show that we are a solid team this year from seniors to freshman and everyone in between.”
UCA has its first home game against the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff Lady Lions at 5 p.m. Feb. 10.