In fourteen games of non-conference action- Hotel Encanto Invitational (Las Cruces, N.M.), Marriot Houston Invitational (Houston, TX), UTSA Invitational (San Antonio, TX)-the UTSA softball team compiled a disappointing record of four wins and 10 losses. Although not all was lost, playing the likes of No. 13 Texas, No. 22 Louisiana-Lafayette, Nebraska, Purdue, Penn State and other comparable programs, the Roadrunners gained valuable and hard-earned experience that will guide them through Southland Conference (SLC) play.
“The schedule we knew was going to be tough,” Head Coach Lori Cook said. “We played some top ranked teams, and we did that for a reason. We put that schedule up every year so that when we get to conference, we’re not surprised by anything. We can adjust to what we need to adjust to. That schedule helped us coming into our conference.”
One of the bright spots for the ‘Runners this season has been the production of sophomore Caitlyn Ivy. The Huntington, Texas native leads the team in batting average (.448), on-base percentage (.529), hits (26) and home runs (8).
“She is seeing the ball very well,” Cook said of Ivy. “She’s definitely turned out to be the player that I knew she would. She got a lot of experience last year as a freshman swinging the bat. Right now she’s hitting everything, and I don’t care what they throw- she’s swinging at it.”
UTSA rounds out Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Game 1: UTSA 12, A&M-Corpus Christi 2
In the SLC opener for both teams the ‘Runners delivered 12 runs on nine hits to shut down the Islanders for the first of the scheduled doubleheader. After scoring three runs in the first, UTSA blew the game open with a seven run second inning. One error, two wild pitches, two walks and three hits set the stage for junior first baseman Krista Sitka’s first grand slam. Junior pitcher Danyé Holmes, who contributed four RBIs on two hits, pitched five innings giving up two hits and two runs while striking out three.
Game 2: A&M-Corpus Christi 6, UTSA 3
In the nightcap of the doubleheader A&M-Corpus Christi benefited from four UTSA errors in route to a 6-3 victory. Islander junior Elena Crabtree (9-2, 3.08 ERA) pitched seven innings, surrendering three hits and three runs. Two of those three hits were home runs by Ivy who went 2-3, with three RBIs.
Game 3: UTSA 5, A&M-Corpus Christi 4
Riding the arm of Holmes in the final game of the series, the Roadrunners were able to grind out a win in the rubber game- Holmes got the win in her second complete game of the series. UTSA and A&M-Corpus Christi would exchange home runs in the bottom of the first and top of second. Kristin Kappler launched the three-run homer to left with two outs in the inning driving in sister Ashley Kappler and Ivy. Islander designated hitter Margo Hurdt would return the favor in the top half with a bomb over center field. A leadoff triple in the third inning for senior center fielder Rudi Cantu would set up a squeeze bunt RBI for Kappler. But an Ivy home run would seal the deal for the ‘Runners. Holmes, who was hit by a retaliation pitch after the home run, would carry the Roadrunners to victory but not without late inning drama. A&M-Corpus Christ led-off the seventh inning with a home run to cut the lead to one. After striking out the next two batters, Holmes would hit and walk the next two hitters before getting a pop-out to end the game.
Stephen F. Austin takes series at Roadrunner Field, 2-1
Game 1: SFA 3, UTSA 1
In a pitcher’s duel, the Ladyjacks of SFA were led by left-hander Monika Covington who pitched seven innings giving up three hits and one run while striking out 11. Cantu led-off the game with a single, then swiped second and eventually scored on an Ivy double to center- this lead would hold until the decisive fifth inning. Holmes carried a no-hitter into the fifth before allowing the only two SFA hits of the game, a triple and a three run bomb over center field. Holmes would finish allowing only two hits and three runs.
Game 2: UTSA 6, SFA 3
Roadrunner junior pitcher Emily Humpal picked up her fourth win of the season in the second game of the series. Humpbal gave up three runs while striking out six. Cantu led a 12-hit UTSA performance going 3-4 with two singles and a double with an RBI- Cantu also tied the UTSA record in stolen bases (48-Shannon Steadman, 1993-1996). Humpbal, who was named SLC Pitcher of the Week on March 2, surrendered three runs in the first three innings before shutting down SFA- Humpbal stranded six Ladyjacks in the final four innings.
Game 3: SFA 8, UTSA 2
In the final meeting of the season against SFA, Holmes and Humpbal combined to surrender 10 hits and eight runs- Roadrunner sophomore Morgan Luksa also pitched 1.2 innings yielding no hits and one strikeout. The Ladyjacks would carry a 4-2 lead into the seventh before producing a four hit, four run inning to add insurance runs and then some. Cantu would become UTSA’s all-time leader in stolen bases with 49 by swiping her 12th bag of the season in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ivy also added her team-leading eighth home run of the season.
The Roadrunners host No. 25 Baylor March 9 at 5 p.m. at Roadrunner Field.