BEAUMONT, Texas — From Lamar Athletics

The Lamar University softball team split its opening Southland Conference contests against Abilene Christian on Friday evening. Lamar took game one, 2-0, behind a three-hit shutout from Aaliyah Ruiz. Lamar dropped game two, 5-3.
 
Game One
Ruiz came out dealing in the first inning for the Cardinals as her first seven pitches were strikes. The first batter of the contest struck out looking on three pitches. She followed with a ground out and a fly out to left in the first inning.
 
After allowing a leadoff triple in the second inning, Ruiz did not allow the Wildcats to score. She got a pop out for the first out of the inning before recording back-to-back strike outs to end the top of the second inning.
 
In the bottom of the second inning, Maddy Myers led off with a double to left field. On a sacrifice bunt, Myers went to third base putting a runner on third with one out. She scored when Taylor Murphy grounded out to short stop. The run put the Cards ahead 1-0.
 
Ruiz continued to deal and kept the Wildcats bats quiet as she did not allow another hit until the fifth inning. After keeping the Wildcats off the bases, LU came up in the bottom of the fourth and stretched the lead to 2-0. Shaina Amir singled to right center. She scored when Jade Lewis doubled down the left field line.
 
In the top of the fifth inning, the Wildcats Bradley and Clayton singled giving ACU three hits. They would be left stranded on base. Following the two hits, Ruiz did not let the Wildcats pick up another hit in the contest and set them down in order in the sixth inning.
 
Needing three outs to pick up the win, Ruiz recorded her sixth strikeout of the contest, for the first out. After a fly out, ACU drew a walk putting one runner on, however, the runner would be left stranded as Johnson popped out to end the game. Lamar came away with a 2-0 victory over ACU in game one.
 
Ruiz pitched a complete game three-hitter to earn the win for LU. She recorded six strikeouts in the contest. The shutout for the Cards is its second of the season.
 
Game Two
Abilene Christian opened game two taking advantage of Cardinals mistakes and slowly built a lead on LU. Burris and Tomlinson recorded back to back RBI singles and ACU scored a third run on a Cards error putting the Wildcats ahead, 3-0.
 
The Cards bats stayed quiet early in the second game of the day as they recorded one hit in the first two innings. Lamar cut the Wildcats lead down to two, 3-1, in the bottom of the third inning. Mackenzie Futrellsingled to right and went to third on a misplay by the right fielder. She scored when Shannon Klaus grounded out to second base.
 
The game remained 3-1 in favor of the Wildcats until the top of the fifth inning. ACU came up and hit a leadoff home run to center field growing its lead to 4-1. The next hitter singled up the middle. The next three batters were retired, and LU trailed 4-1.
 
ACU extended its lead to 5-1 in the top of the sixth inning. After a walk, Johnson went to second on a passed ball and stole third base. With one out, Johnson scored on a ground out growing the lead to 5-1.
 
LU's bats came to life in the bottom of the sixth inning. Savana Mata singled to left field. She advanced to second on a sac bunt by Amir. Lewis drove her home with a double down the left field line putting LU down 5-3.
 
Kelly Meeuwsen singled through the right-side putting Cards on first and third. With Savana Guidry at the plate, Meeuwsen stole second base and the Wildcats catcher threw the ball into center field allowing Lewis to score putting Lamar down 5-3. With the tying run at the plate, Guidry lined out to right field and the next hitter was retired ending the threat.
 
Trailing, 5-3, heading to the bottom of the seventh the Cards needed two runs to keep the game alive. With one out, Futrell reached base on a Wildcats error. However, she would be the only Cardinal to reach and LU was defeated in game two, 5-3.
 
The Cards and Wildcats conclude its three-game series on Saturday, March 9 when they play a single game. First-pitch is set for 11 a.m. from the LU Softball Complex.