HAMMOND, La. — The Central Arkansas softball team returned to North Oak Park for two games in the Southland Conference Tournament on Saturday. The Bears defeated the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks in the first game of the day, 5-4, before they fell to the McNeese Cowgirls, 1-0, in the conference championship. UCA is the 2021 Southland Conference Runner-Up and had 5 members named to the SLC All-Tournament Team. Kaylyn Shepherd, Cylla Hill, Kristen Whitehouse, Mary Kate Brown, and Kayla Beaver were all selected to the all-tournament team.
Game One – UCA 5, SFA 4
In the bottom of the first, the Ladyjacks got on the board first on an RBI single from Bryana Novegil. SFA added three more runs in the bottom of the second and took a 4-0 lead into the top of the third.
Brown walked on four pitches to get the inning started in the top of the third. Shepherd singled to center and advanced Brown to second. Hill produced an RBI double to left center to drive in Brown. Whitehouse blasted a no-doubter for a three-run homer to tie the game at 4-4.
In the top of the fourth, Reagan Sperling started the inning with a walk. Jenna Wildeman moved Sperling to second on a sac bunt. Brown followed with a double to center and drove in Sperling for the go-ahead run. That was all that Beaver needed in the circle as she did not allow an SFA runner to get to second for the remainder of the game.
Beaver improved to 21-6 on the year with her 19th complete game. She recorded six strikeouts and gave up four runs, two earned, on eight hits.
Brown led the Bears with a 2-for-3 game at the plate. Whitehouse posted a game-high three RBIs.
Kassidy Wilbur fell to 30-6 on the season. She gave up five earned runs on six hits and struck out three with six walks.
Marisa Arriaga led SFA with a 2-for-3 game at the plate.
Game Two – McNeese 1, UCA 0
The second game turned out to be a pitcher’s duel. Jordan Johnson surrendered just two hits, while Jenna Edwards and Whitney Tate combined for a four-hitter.
McNeese got on the board in the bottom of the third on an RBI double by Kaylee Lopez. That turned out to be all that was needed for the Cowgirls to secure the victory.
In the bottom of the fifth, Tremere Harris made an outstanding catch on a ball that was sinking away from her towards the right field line. In the bottom of the sixth, Brown made a great diving catch on the infield to keep the Cowgirls off the bases.
Despite outhitting McNeese, Central Arkansas stranded seven runners in the game.
Brown produced another 2-for-3 game at the plate to lead the Bears. Whitehouse and Harris added the other hits. Johnson fell to 11-9 on the season in a complete-game effort. She struck out three batters with just one walk. She gave up an earned run on just two hits.
From the Coach – Head Coach David Kuhn
“Well, it was another very good softball game by both teams. Jordan Johnson pitched outstanding for the Bears and McNeese’s pitchers Edwards and Tate threw well. The only difference in the ball game was they came up with the one big hit and they turned a couple of double plays, which turned out to be the difference. They are an outstanding opponent. This concludes an outstanding season for UCA softball, a runner-up finish in the regular season and the runner-up finish in the tournament. I’m looking forward to the future of our program.”