BEAUMONT, Texas – The Lamar University Cardinals got complete games from starting pitchers Ciara Luna and Laura Napoli on Friday as they swept a doubleheader from visiting Northwestern State by scores of 5-1 and 5-4 to open the Southland Conference softball season.
Luna (2-7) tossed a three-hitter in the opener, while Napoli (4-6) scattered five hits in the nightcap as the Cardinals (9-13 overall, 2-0 Southland) improved to 33-10 all-time at the LU Softball Complex.
“I thought we got great pitching in both games,” LU coach Holly Bruder said. “I thought that was the best Laura pitched in quite a while. To hold a good-hitting team like Northwestern State to eight hits over two games is pretty impressive.”
Game 1: LU 5, Northwestern State 1
The Cardinals broke open a scoreless game with four runs in the bottom of the third inning on just two hits. Shelby Henderson and Sable Hankins each put down perfect bunts to score runs in the inning.
LU added an unearned run in the fourth as Brittany Rodriguez opened the inning with a bunt single before coming home on an error.
Northwestern State (9-15-1, 0-2) got on the board in the sixth inning when Micayla Sorosiak doubled home Brittany Jones with two outs. Luna retired the final four hitters to finish her gem. The senior right-hander walked three and struck out seven.
Rodriguez and Brynn Baca had two hits for LU. Northwestern State starter Mikayla Brown (4-6) took the loss, allowing three hits and four runs, all earned, in three innings. She walked five and did not strike out a batter.
Game 2: LU 5, Northwestern State 4
The Cardinals fell behind 2-0 in the top of the third before responding with five runs in the home half of the inning before holding on for the victory.
Corina Thornton had the big hit in the inning, a two-run single. The Cardinals also pulled off a double steal, with Caitlin Terrazas scoring on the play to cap the rally.
Napoli gave up a pair of unearned runs in the third inning before the Lady Demons made it close with two runs in the top of the sixth inning as Kellye Kincannon tripled home a run before eventually scoring. Napoli got out of the inning and then retired the side in order in the seventh to close the deal.
Rodriguez had three hits for LU, while Baca and Thornton had two hits apiece in the win. Northwestern State starter Micaela Bouvier (0-2) took the loss, allowing nine hits and five runs, all earned, over six innings.
“These were two quality wins over a team I expect to be in the conference tournament,” Bruder said. “These are huge. We still have some things to work on, but it’s a great way to start the conference season.”
UP NEXT: The teams are scheduled to finish their three-game conference series at 2 p.m. Saturday, weather permitting. If the game is postponed Saturday, it would be rescheduled for Sunday. The LU players will hold an autograph session after the game.
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