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Lamar softball splits doubleheader with Tarleton

Cardinals and Texans will decide series Saturday at noon

BEAUMONT, Texas — Junior catcher Felixia Hinojosa singled to centerfield. Her teammates stormed from the dugout to jump up and down with her as they screamed in celebration after she rounded first base. In the bottom of the eighth inning of game two in a doubleheader Friday night at the LU Softball Complex, Hinojosa's single brought sophomore outfielder Audry Fleming across home plate for Lamar University's second walk-off win this week, a 3-2 victory over Tarleton State. 

Senior pitcher Aaliyah Ruiz (6-10) pitched a gem to keep Big Red (7-21, 2-9 in WAC play) in the game. She allowed two runs, both unearned, on five hits and three walks. She struck out five Texans (20-16, 5-6 in WAC play) and plunked just one. Both Texans' runs came in the fifth inning after a fielding error. 

The Cardinals got off to a nice start when sophomore infielder Brooke Davis led off with a single down the right field line. She was erased on a fielder's choice, but junior infielder Nicolette Ramirez advanced to third base on a double to the left-center power alley. Ramirez would give LU a 1-0 lead when she scored on a Kaylee Ancelot RBI groundout. 

Ramirez and Bean continued to be a nuisance to Tarleton State pitching in the third inning. Ramirez led off the inning with a walk. Bean attempted a sacrifice bunt, but the Texans got greedy and committed a throwing error on an attempt to throw out Ramirez at second base. Both players reached safely without an out recorded. Ancelot would send a deep fly ball to left field, allowing both runners to advance. With one out, Fleming would reach base as Tarleton State attempted to tag Ramirez, who slid back to third safely. With the bases loaded, sophomore outfielder Hayley Freudenberg sent a deep fly ball to centerfield for a sacrifice fly. Just before Bean was tagged out at third base, Ramirez crossed home to push the Cardinals lead to 2-0. 

In the eighth inning, Bean doubled to the left-center power alley again. Fleming drew a one-out walk. Freshman pinch-hitter Sydnee Norton reached base after being hit by a pitch. With one out and the bases loaded, junior designated player Hannah Kinkade sent a bouncing ball to shortstop. A throw home nabbed Bean on a force play just in time. With two outs, Hinojosa came to the dish and ended the game with a walk-off single to score Fleming. 

The walk-off is the second this week after the Cardinals defeated Houston Baptist with a walk-off in the fifth inning to complete a run-rule victory over Houston Baptist. LU softball has also won three of its last six games, and two of their last four in WAC play. 

Tarleton State took game one of the doubleheader 8-1. Hinojosa scored the Cardinals' only run when she crossed home plate on a passed ball. 

The walk-off extra-innings victory sets up a rubber match in the series. First pitch is set for noon Saturday at the LU Softball Complex. 

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