TYLER, Texas — Hardin-Simmons' softball team fell 2-1 in nine innings in the first round of the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament at Suddenlink Field in Tyler.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Louisiana College put the first two runners on base with a single and an error on a sac bunt. Jessica Johnson then had an RBI groundout to shortstop to give the Wildcats the 1-0 lead.
HSU answered right back in the top of the seventh. Mac Clay led off with a walk and was forced out on afielder's choice by Kara LeLeux. Jayme Ashley pinch ran for LeLeux. Carley Willis then walked and Brayleigh Middleton had an infield bunt single to load the bases. It was the first hit of the game for the Cowgirls.
Lauren Williams hit a sinking liner to right field that Kimber Gruehl made a shoestring catch but was deep enough for a sacrifice fly.
HSU's other best chance to score had come in the first inning after Clay had walked LeLeux hit a smash to straight away centerfield but Chelsea Allen made a catch as she crashed into the wall.
HSU starter Emily Hardaway worked out of jams several times throughout the game. She left a runner stranded at third base in the first, second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. She scattered eight hits over eight and two-third innings and took the hard-luck loss allowing two unearned runs to fall to 9-10 on the year.
The Cowgirls had a chance in the top of the ninth when Clay and LeLeux each had singles to lead off the inning and they moved to second and third on sacrifice bunt by Carley Willis, put a pop up and fly out got the Wildcats out of the inning.
In the ninth, LC's first two batter were set down, but Stephanie Jaeger singled with two outs and stole second base and moved to third on a passed ball. Meagan Pearson walked and then Courtney Ivey just beat out a ground ball deep in the hole at shortstop for infield single to drive home Jaeger.
Madison Vige worked seven innings for LC and allowed just one hit and one run. Nancy Bunting worked the final two innings for the win, working two shutout innings.
HSU is 21-18 on the year and Louisiana College improved to 22-13. HSU will play Texas-Dallas at 4 p.m. in an elimination game on Thursday.
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