Lady Cards host Islanders in 3-game Southland series
Lamar softball to honor 4 seniors on Saturday
BEAUMONT, Texas – The Lamar Lady Cardinals close out the home portion of their Southland Conference schedule when Texas A&M-Corpus Christi comes to Ford Park for a three-game series this weekend. The series opens with a doubleheader at 4 p.m. Friday before concluding with a single game at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Lamar (19-18 overall, 12-5 Southland) enters the weekend in second place in the conference, one game behind McNeese State and one game ahead of Sam Houston State with nine games remaining. The top six teams qualify for next month's Southland Conference Tournament in Hammond, La. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (10-30, 5-12) sits in 10th place in the conference race, eight games out of fist and three games behind Central Arkansas, which enters the weekend in sixth place with an 8-9 Southland record.
"We need to win this series," Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. "Obviously, we want to sweep. We have to take care of our own business and not have to look for help from other teams."
The Islanders have struggled offensively in Southland play, hitting just .234 and being outscored 98-48. Liz Carter is hitting .406 in conference play and .344 overall. The right-hander is also the team's No. 1 pitcher, posting an 8-16 record with an ERA of 5.11. Against Southland opponents, Carter is 3-7 with a 4.84 ERA. The Islanders took two of three games from visiting Stephen F. Austin last weekend for their first SLC series win of the season.
"They are a slap-hitting team," Bruder said of the Islanders. "That has me worried right now, after we made five errors in our loss to Houston. We are definitely going to work on sharpening our defense in practice on Thursday."
Lamar, which dropped a non-conference doubleheader to visiting Houston on Wednesday, has won five of its last six Southland games. Lamar is 10-3 at home this season, including an 8-1 conference mark. Since the return of softball last season, Lamar is 18-3 in Southland Conference games at Ford Park.
Lamar needs two wins for its 100th all-time victory, including the wins the Lady Cardinals claimed from 1983 until 1987. Candyce Carter needs just two hits to become the second player in program history to reach the 100-hit plateau. Donna Dugas had 151 hits from 1984 through 1987.
Carter leads Lamar with a .389 batting average in conference play. Tina Schulz is hitting .365 against Southland foes, with team-leading totals of five home runs and 19 RBIs. Schulz (5-3, 2.49) and left-hander Shannon Millman (6-2, 3.16) are Lamar's likely starters this weekend.
Saturday is Senior Day as Lamar honors Carter, Millman, Schulz and Julianne Viator, the first graduating class in the modern era of Lamar softball.
"It will be a sentimental day," Bruder said. "We're going to do some special things for them. We want to make it even more special by getting them a win."