BEAUMONT, Texas – Ashley McDowell became Lamar University’s all-time leader in RBIs and the Cardinals continued their mastery of Houston Baptist with a doubleheader sweep of the Huskies by scores of 12-6 and 4-2 in Southland Conference action at the LU Softball Complex on Friday night.
McDowell drove in two runs in the opening game to move to 95 RBIs in her career, surpassing the previous mark of 94 set by Jenna Holland. LU (12-13 overall, 5-0 Southland) is 13-1 all-time against HBU, including an 11-0 mark at home.
“To be honest with you, both games could have gone either way,” LU coach Holly Bruder said. “We had to rally late to win the first game, and Houston Baptist had its chances to take the lead late in the second game. These were two good wins for us.”
Game 1: LU 12, Houston Baptist 6
The Cardinals rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 5-2 before breaking open a 6-6 tie with six runs in the bottom of the sixth to win the opener.
Brittany Rodriguez went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, while Corina Thornton went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored to highlight a 14-hit attack.
Rodriguez capped the six-run outburst in the sixth inning with a bases-loaded triple to the gap in right-center.
Anissa Rodriguez (3-0) got the win in relief, allowing two hits and one run in 3 1/3 innings. She walked one and struck out two.
LU starter Ciara Luna did not factor in the decision, allowing eight hits and five runs, all earned, in 3 2/3 innings.
HBU starter Emily Mueller (3-7) was saddled with the loss after allowing 12 hits and 10 runs, seven earned, in 5 1/3 innings.
McDowell tied the RBI record with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning that pulled the Cardinals to within 5-3. She broke Holland’s record when she put down a beautiful two-out, two-strike bunt to score Elizabeth Castillo just before Brittany Rodriguez’s triple.
Game 2: LU 4, Houston Baptist 2
LU starter Laura Napoli (5-6) took a shutout into the sixth inning, eventually settling for a four-hitter in her 32nd complete game and 33rd career win.
The Cardinals jumped out in front early in this one, with Brynn Baca’s first-inning double giving LU a 1-0 lead. The Cards added two runs in the third on RBIs from Shelby Henderson and Sable Hankins to take a 3-0 lead.
HBU (7-11, 0-5) made thing interesting in the sixth inning on Cecilia Bauer’s two-run double to make it 3-2, but Napoli avoided further damage in that inning before getting out of a jam with runners on first and third in the seventh inning to preserve the win.
Hankins went 3-for-3 for the Cardinals, while McDowell and Brynn Baca added two hits apiece. Napoli walked three and struck out two in her effort.
Bauer had two of HBU’s four hits. Stephanie Buenrostro (3-3) pitched a complete game for the Huskies, allowing 12 hits and four runs, all earned. She did not walk a batter and did not have a strikeout.
“Pitchers like her (Buenrostro) give us trouble because they spin the ball, and that’s something we struggle with,” Bruder said. “I think we made good adjustments today.”
UP NEXT: LU wraps up the three-game series with HBU at 3 p.m. Saturday. Kids will be able to run the bases after the game and there will also be a postgame autograph session with the Lamar University student-athletes.
STANDINGS: With the sweep, the Cardinals moved a half-game ahead of McNeese and Abilene Christian, who are both 4-0 in SLC play. McNeese hosts Sam Houston State in a doubleheader Saturday, while Abilene Christian is at Northwestern State for a twinbill.
TIME CHANGE: Tuesday’s non-conference game against UTSA at the LU Softball Complex is now scheduled to start at 5 p.m.