UCA had no answers for Sam Houston State this weekend as the Bearkats swept the Bears in a three-game series at Farris Field.
SHSU picked a pair of wins on Friday in a 3-1 series opener and a 10-2 win in the second half of the day’s doubleheader.
The final game of the series saw UCA sake an early 2-0 lead in the first two innings, but the Bearkats scored three in the top of the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.
UCA looked to respond in the bottom half of the inning when Morgan Felts stole second, but the throw sailed into the outfield.
Trying to take advantage of the error, Felts was thrown out at third, ending the inning.
The Bears got another hit in the bottom of the sixth, but the bats went cold after the first two innings.
In game two of the series, UCA (12-15, 1-5 SLC) lost after the Bearkats used a five-run second inning to seize control early against starter Rachel Haberman, who was touched for six runs in only two innings of work.
Three of the runs were unearned as a pair of errors extended the inning for the Bearkats.
As for game one, Sam Houston State's Lindsey McLeod pitched six shutout innings and surrendered only one hit as the Bearkats silenced UCA 3-1.
Kaylyn Shepard's one-out solo homer in the sixth inning spoiled McLeod's no-hit bid – clearing the center field fence by a few feet.
Outside of Shepard's blast, McLeod – touted as one of the top pitchers in the Southland Conference – dominated UCA in a complete game victory.
“They have an outstanding pitching staff and swing the bats really well so they put it to us,” UCA coach David Kuhn said. “We had the one bad (second) inning in the second game that put us down early before we could blink but hats off to them. They played well.”
Shepard also recorded the final two outs in Sam Houston State's 10-2 win in the nightcap.
Libby Morris and Lauren Brooks were issued walks and leadoff hitter Kayla Crutchmer has hit by a pitch at the bottom of the third to serve as the only Bears to reach base against McLeod in the opener.
The Bearkats (12-14, 4-2 SLC) struck first as Taylar Fuselier doubled down the left field line to open the third inning, quickly advanced to third on Sheridan Fisher’s ground out to short and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Regan Dunn to give SHSU a 1-0 lead.
That run proved to be more than sufficient for McLeod, who struck out 11 of the UCA batters she faced.
Ashley Goetz and Tiffany Thompson drove in a pair of runs to spark SHSU to a 3-0 advantage before Shepard's shot.
“I just used what she gave me and she happened to leave one over the meat of the plate so I took advantage of it,” Shepard said. “She was getting ahead in the count and then threw a rise ball that we kept swinging at. If we can just lay off the rise ball I think we can win (on Sunday).”
UCA’s Rio Sanchez (4-5) went the distance in the opener – surrendering nine hits and striking out four.