The Roadrunners softball team had a very busy Easter weekend, hosting two doubleheader games on consecutive days. In the first doubleheader, the Runners played the visiting Sam Houston State Bearkats on Friday, April 6.
In the first game, the visiting Bearkats got on the board in the first inning as shortstop Sarah Allison hit an RBI single down the third base line. The Roadrunners didn’t respond until the bottom of the third inning when UTSA shortstop Molly Fichtner hit a lead-off single to wake up the Runners’ offense. Eventually, first baseman Caitlyn Ivy smashed a line drive single to tie up the game.
The Runners’ offense stayed aggressive in the fourth inning, as catcher Megan Low hit a two RBI single down the middle of the infield that was mishandled by Bearkats’ second baseman Alyssa Coggins and giving the Runners the lead 3-1.
The Roadrunners’ defense also kept the Sam Houston offense quiet. The Bearkats couldn’t score another run until the top of the sixth inning as Allison hit a streaking line drive to left center field. Third baseman Shelbi Tucker hit a pop fly ball that gave Allison enough time to come in for another Bearkats run.
UTSA responded with an offensive explosion in the bottom half of the inning. Second baseman Ashley Kappler struck a scorching line drive off the first pitch of the inning, down the left foul line for a lead off double. Fichtner kept the offensive momentum going with a ground ball RBI double to put the Runners up 4-2. Third baseman Nikki Goff stepped up and hit the third consecutive double in the inning for the Runners. Goff’s double also scored Fichtner from second base and the Runners led 5-2.
The home crowd was electric, cheering on the Runners’ new offensive life. UTSA center fielder Courtney Buchman was able to walk on four consecutive balls, and right fielder Alaina Byars hit a towering 210-foot, two-run homerun to bring all the Runners home. After the homerun, the Runners held to an insurmountable 8-2 lead and eventually won the first game of the double-header.
“We are known to not give up. We will fight to very end. We’ve had a lot of games where we came back and won them. We just stayed in the game, and hit the ball hard,” Byars said.
Getting the win for the Runners was junior Alyssa Vordenbaum. Senior Morgan Luksa picked up the save for the Runners; the losing pitcher for the Bearkats was senior Tomi Garrison.
The Friday night lights turned on for the second game of the day, and the offense for both teams was effective from the first pitch. Bearkats shortstop Allison started off the game with another RBI double down the third base line. Allison stayed aggressive on the base paths, eventually stealing home to give Sam Houston State a 2-0 lead. On the next pitch, designated hitter Hillary Adams hit a booming solo homerun off the Roadrunner softball scoreboard for a 3-0 lead.
The Runners responded quickly in the bottom half of the inning. Goff responded to Adams’ homerun by hitting one of her own. With one stroke of the bat, Goff’s three-run homerun tied up the game at 3-3. That was last sign of offense for the Runners, but that wasn’t the case for the visiting Sam Houston State.
The Bearkats continued to score in the next two innings, highlighted by Adams’ second homerun of the night that drove in two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Sam Houston State’s lead ballooned to 8-3, and the Roadrunners couldn’t find the right rhythm to get back in the game. The Bearkats won the second game of the doubleheader by that score, splitting the series one win for UTSA and the other for Sam Houston State.
The winning pitcher for the Bearkats was sophomore Shelby Lancaster. Picking up the loss for the Runners was Vordenbaum.
“As long as we make the conference tournament, anything can happen,” first-year Head Softball Coach Amanda Lehotak said.
“We are taking all of this as a learning experiences, so we can get better for more conference games but we see them when it counts.”
The Runners returned to the diamond Saturday, April 7, to host a makeup doubleheader with the Sugar Bears of Central Arkansas. The Runners swept both games of the series.
The first game went the way of the Runners by a score of 3-0. The winning pitcher for the Runners was Haylee Staton. The losing pitcher was Kelsie Armstrong The second game was won by the Runners by a score of 2-1. Luksa got the win for the Runners with Kelley Martino, taking the loss for the Sugar Bears.