FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Corina Thornton produced her first career walk-off hit to lift the Lamar University Cardinals to a 10-9 win Sunday over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on the final day of the Wooo Pig Classic hosted by the University of Arkansas.
Thornton ripped a 2-2 pitch up the middle to score pinch runner Elizabeth Castillo with the winning run as the Cardinals (7-13) produced their 20th walk-of win since reviving the program in 2013.
Thornton’s hit capped a wild game that saw LU lead 8-4 after five innings before Nebraska rallied to take a 9-8 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh before LU rallied for its first one-run victory of the season after losing its first seven one-run contests this year.
Thornton is batting a career-best .324 this season with four RBIs. The junior outfielder also has a career-high 15 putouts this season.
“I am happy for Corina, who has earned her spot this season,” LU coach Holly Bruder said. “She has had some big RBIs for us this season. Having a junior step up will definitely help us.”
Bruder is hopeful that the Cardinals’ win over a team from the Big 10 will give LU some confidence heading into Friday’s Southland Conference season opener against Northwestern State at the LU Softball Complex.
“Beating a Big 10 school is huge for this program,” Bruder said. “That’s what we are capable of. This tough month is about to pay off in a week.”
The Cardinals were down to their last out in the bottom of the seventh when Shelby Henderson tied the game at 9 with her first career home run, depositing a 1-0 pitch from Nebraska pitcher Kaylan Jablonski (1-7) over the fence in left field. Caitlin Terrazas followed with a walk and moved to second on a single by Sable Hankins. Castillo came in to run for Terrazas and scored the winning run thanks to Thornton’s heroics.
Henderson, Hankins, Shelby Hughston and Ashley McDowell had two hits apiece for the Cardinals. Henderson had three RBIs on the day, contributing a two-run double in a four-run fifth inning to go along with her solo home run. Hankins also homered for the Cardinals.
Julia Voluntad (1-0), the third LU pitcher used, picked up the win. Voluntad came on with one out in the seventh with the Cardinals trailing 9-8 and Cornhuskers on second and third. Voluntad induced two grounders to second baseman Kelly Meeuwsen to get out of the jam.
Gina Metzler had three hits for the Cornhuskers (4-13).
UP NEXT: The Cardinals open a seven-game homestand with a three-game series against Northwestern State in the conference opener for both teams. LU and the Lady Demons play a single game at 5 p.m. Friday and a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday. The homestand continues the following weekend with a conference series against Houston Baptist on March 17-18 and a non-conference game vs. UTSA on March 21.
TICKETS: For tickets for all LU home games, call 409-880-1715, or visit www.LamarCardinals.com/SoftballTickets. Tickets are also available at the LU ticket office, located in the Montagne Center, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Tickets will be available at the ticket window at the LU Softball Complex starting one hour prior to first pitch.