By HAROLD HARMON Sports Reporter
March 8, 2014
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Coach Ron Faubion’s LadyStorm softballers rode outstanding defense, clutch hitting and good pitching to a Friday sweep of Arkansas Tech’s Golden Suns.
The Storm posted 5-4 and 2-0 victories to run the season record to 12-7 overall and 7-3 in the Great American Conference.
Arkansas Tech fell to 7-7 and 2-4.
The Saturday doubleheader has been moved to a 10 a.m. start in an effort to beat the weather.
Jacee Bennett had a perfect game through three innings, gave way to Shayna Milam for 1.2 frames and returned to finish the game and improve to 3-2 on the year.
Mindy McElroy carried a no-hitter through the first five innings before a pinch-hitter beat out an infield hit to start the sixth.
McElroy gave up a one-out double in the seventh to log a complete-game victory in the nightcap and boost her record to 6-3.
Coach Faubion said, “We might have played our best defensive game ever. It was just fun to watch it. We had great plays in the outfield and infield, including an outstanding relay throw from center field to shortstop to catcher to nail a runner at the plate with what would have been the tying run at that time.
“Overall, we hit pretty well in the first game (nine hits) and had some timely hits in the second game (six hits).
“Jacee pitched well early, hit a rough spot, but came back to close it out for us. Mindy had an excellent game all the way.
“These were really big wins for us. It seems like everybody is having trouble sweeping at home or on the road.”
The Storm broke on top in the first when Jessica Simmons was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a single by Sydney Kramer.
A pair of runs in the third looked like breathing room, but didn’t really turn out that way.
Connor Harmon led it off with an infield hit to third base and Shaina Crites came on to run. A sacrifice bunt by Simmons, throwing error at third, fielder’s choice and a two-run single by Laramie Beal made it 3-0, SE.
Tech used a leadoff triple in the third, followed by an infield out, RBI-double, hit batsman and an RBI-double made it 3-2, Storm
Southeastern pushed in a pair of runs in the fifth when Lacie Cook belted a one-out double, Kramer singled, Beal was intentionally walked and Arianna (A.J.) Jones singled home two runs to make it 5-2.
The same combination of a leadoff triple, fly out to center field, RBI-double and RBI-single made the cheese more binding at 5-4 after six innings.
Bennett retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to wrap up the win.
Bennett pitched 5.1 innings, allowed two earned runs on four hits, walked none and struck out four.
Milam gave up two earned runs on two hits in 1.2 innings with no walks or strikeouts.
Cook paced the Storm with two for three and a run scored. Kramer was two for four, scored two runs and drove in one.
Beal, Haley Strawn, Darrian Williams and Connor Harmon were one for three each. A.J. was one for four with two runs batted in.
This one was scoreless until the Storm struck for a run in the third.
Williams was hit by a pitch to start the rally and scored on a double by Simmons.
An insurance run was pushed across in the sixth when Beal opened with a single to left, moved to third on a double by A.J. and scored when McElroy hit into a fielder’s choice.
McElroy allowed only three runners through the first five innings, on an error, intentional walk and a hit batsman.
The Golden Suns had only one runner reach second, on a harmless one-out double in the seventh.
McElroy pitched seven innings, gave up no runs on two hits and allowed one intentional walk to take the win.
Beal led the Storm with two for three and Williams was one for one with the winning run scored in the third.
A.J. and McElroy were one for three each and Simmons was one for four.