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Wildcats and SFA Ladyjacks split Saturday doubleheader

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Abilene Christian softball team followed an incredible 4-3 extra-inning victory with a lopsided 12-4 (6) loss Saturday as the Wildcats began a three-game series at Stephen F. Austin.
Contributed by: Christopher Macaluso, ACU Assistant Director for Athletics Media Relations

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Abilene Christian softball team followed an incredible 4-3 extra-inning victory with a lopsided 12-4 (6) loss Saturday as the Wildcats began a three-game series at Stephen F. Austin.

Today's split gives the Wildcats a 16-19 overall record and 5-3 mark against the Southland Conference heading into Sunday's 1 p.m. rubber game against the Ladyjacks (16-19, 7-6 SLC).

Game One Recap
The Wildcats hung on to win an extra-inning thriller, 4-3, as they rallied from an early 2-0 deficit with a pair of runs scored in the seventh and 10th innings.

After being held in check by Ladyjack ace Carlie Thomas for the better part of 6.0 innings, ACU finally lit its side of the scoreboard in the seventh when sophomore center fielder Paige Stevens drilled a two-run, game-tying double into the left-center gap that plated pinch hitter Anna Jones and shortstop Demi McNulty.

Three innings later, the Wildcats took their first lead of the game on Madison Buckley's RBI double and added an important insurance run when Buckley came around on Ashley Nolan's single to right-center field.

Buckley's run proved to be the game-winner as SFA would score its third and final run in the bottom of the 10th when Elizabeth Arana singled in inherited runner Alisa Hamilton. Arana, however, would be left stranded at second base as freshman Hannah Null finished her 136-pitch complete game with a fly ball to center off the bat of Brittany Lewis.

Null began today's game as the Southland's strikeout leader, but recorded only two against the Ladyjacks. One was in the first and the other didn't come until the ninth inning.

Stephen F. Austin scored its first run on Katelyn Standley's eighth home run of the spring - a solo shot - in the fourth, and went up 2-0 after center fielder Lindsay Campbell scored on a passed ball with one out.

Null would come back though by retiring the side in order in the sixth and facing only four batters apiece in seventh, eighth and ninth as the Ladyjacks finished the game with 10 runners left on base.

ACU's offense was no hit through 4.0 innings by Thomas until Nolan (2-for-4) ripped a single up the middle to start the fifth. Unfortunately, she and McNulty were both stranded that frame, and in the sixth, the Wildcats left the bases loaded as consecutive fielder's choices resulted in outs at home and second base.

Game Two Recap
The Ladyjacks had no problems scoring in the night cap as they plated 12 runs on 14 hits against all three Wildcat pitchers to snap ACU's season-best five-game winning streak.

ACU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on back-to-back RBI singles by Courtney Flanary and Buckley, but that advantage did not last long as the home team countered with the first of three three-run innings.

SFA tied the score at 2-2 on a wild pitch by Peyton Mosley and then Standley gave her side a 3-2 lead with a run-scoring single to left center. Standley was one of four Ladjacks with a multi-hit game along with Shalie Day (3-for-5, 3 RBI), Jordan Garza (2-for-2), and Cadie Weaver (2-for-4).

The Wildcats tied the score once more at 4-4 in the third. Taylor Brown led off with a single as part of a 2-for-3 game, went to second on a walk to Lyndi Smith, and scored on an error by Arana at shortstop.

Buckley, who reached first base on that same fielding error, scored two batters later on a RBI single to center by McNulty.

Buckley finished game two 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI.

Emily Seidel (2-4) entered the game to start the third, but a walk, single and two infield errors led to three unearned runs as the Ladyjacks took the lead for good at 7-4. Seidel was then unable to retire a batter in the fourth as she gave up a RBI-double to Standley and a two-run home run to Lewis, SFA's starting pitcher.

Null recorded all three outs in the fourth and escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the fifth, but was hit around a bit in the sixth after eclipsing the 150-pitch plateau. The first two batters she faced that inning singled, and after a sacrifice bunt and sac fly made it an 11-4 game, Day sent the fans home an inning early with her third run-scoring hit of the game.
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