Softball — Northwestern State falls to Lamar in Saturday finale

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BEAUMONT, Texas – Clinching a Southland Conference Softball Tournament spot will have to wait as Northwestern State fell in the finale 5-0 at Lamar on Saturday.

NSU (23-21, 13-8 SLC) slid into a tie for sixth with the Cardinals (22-27, 13-8 SLC), but Lamar owns the tiebreaker after this past weekend’s 2-1 series win.

NSU returns to Lady Demon Diamond to host Grambling on Wednesday before heading to Stephen F. Austin in the next-to-last conference series of the season.

On Saturday, Lamar took advantage of four free passes that assisted the Cardinals in scoring all five runs in the third and fourth innings.

Lamar capitalized in the third inning with three runs on two hits and two free passes. The Cardinals loaded the bases on a walk, a hit batter and a Shannon Klaus single.

Shaina Amir broke the scoreless tie on a single before Lamar scored a pair on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. Kimberly Mattox hit a ball near second base that Cayla Jones knocked down and rolled on the bag for an out, but an alert Elizabeth Castillo scored from second base with the defender on the ground.

Lamar added two fourth-inning runs on two hits and two free passes. A Victoria Garivey RBI single pushed the Cardinals’ lead to 4-0 before a run scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch.

Senior Mikayla Brown (3-5) took the loss as she was credited for three runs on three hits in 2 1-3 innings.

Junior Samantha Guile entered in the third inning for Mattox’s fielder’s choice before getting out of the inning, but Guile couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning after Garivey singled for the 4-0 lead.

Freshman Bronte Rhoden pitched the final 2 2-3 innings with one hit allowed.

Lamar counterpart Aaliyah Ruiz (5-4) threw a complete game in her second win of the series. Ruiz surrendered three hits and one walk.

The Lady Demons put five base runners aboard with their best chance of scoring occurring in the first inning.

A Hayley Barbazon double and a Kaitlyn St. Clair walk put two runners on, but Ruiz stranded runners on the corners.

Ruiz retired 12 straight batters until Emma Hawthorne singled in the fifth inning.

Defensively, NSU turned double plays in the second and fourth innings to keep the Cardinals close.

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