LAKE CHARLES, La. (Lamar Athletics)– The Lamar Lady Cardinals saw their postseason hopes come to an end Sunday with a 13-3 loss to McNeese State in the Southland Conference finale for both teams Sunday.
Lamar (20-30 overall, 12-14 Southland), which needed a win to get into next weekend’s Southland Conference Tournament, started quickly on Sunday, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. That lead wouldn’t last long, however, as McNeese State showed why it was the regular-season champion, responding with two runs in the first, two more in the second, four in the third and five in the fourth. The game was stopped after the top of the fifth due to the mercy rule.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t make the tournament, but it wasn’t just because of today,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. “We lost our last nine conference games, including three straight at home. We didn’t get the job done when we had the opportunity.”
Tina Schulz hit a three-run home run for Lamar, giving her a school-record 32 RBIs this season, eclipsing the 31 RBIs Candyce Carter had last season. Schulz ended in a tie with Beverly Corry and Casey Cromwell for the team lead in home runs with eight.
Schulz (9-15) took the loss, allowing four hits and four runs, all earned, in one-plus innings of work. Lauren Dannelley allowed three hits and three runs in one inning, while Shannon Millman allowed five hits and six runs over two innings.
McNeese State starter Jamie Allred (25-6) earned the win, allowing three hits and two runs. Allred held Lamar hitless after the first inning.
Casey Cromwell had Lamar’s other hit.
Emily Vincent and Stacey Conley homered for McNeese State.
The Lady Cardinals, who finished fifth in the conference last season, Lamar’s first year of softball since 1987, finished seventh this season, one game behind Central Arkansas, which claimed the sixth, and final, spot in the conference tournament.
It was the final game for Lamar’s four seniors: Carter, Millman, Schulz and Julianne Viator.
“Those four helped establish the program over these past two years,” Bruder said. “I wish they would have had the opportunity to go to the tournament for the second straight year.”