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Abair, Coburn contributions not enough

SAGU plays at Texas Wesleyan on Monday night

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University softball team dropped their eighth straight game by losing a second doubleheader in as many days. Mid-America Christian University swept the two games, 3-1 and 11-0, on a wind-swept, sunny afternoon.

On Friday they fell at Texas Wesleyan University, 7-5 and 6-0. They finish the series with the Lady Rams on Monday night at 7:00pm. (Directions below)

SAGU rapped out four base hits in the opener, but a three-run third inning was enough for the visiting Lady Evangels to hand the hosts a setback.

In the second game, the Lady Lions had seven hits and runners in scoring position in all but the first inning, but couldn’t score.

During their losing streak they have been shutout four times, and have scored more than two just twice. Since losing their starting shortstop the team has gone 1-9.

SAGU now trails Langston University (18-16, 10-8 in RRAC) and University of the Southwest (17-14, 10-8 in RRAC), who are tied for fifth place, by five games with eight league games remaining. Only the top six receive a bid to the RRAC tournament.

The Lady Lions are 11-16 overall and 5-11 in games against teams in the Red River. Since building a 9-5 mark the second year team has fallen in 11 of their last 13 games. Two key injuries have also hindered Team Purple.

To qualify for a berth in the National Christian College Athletic Association’s Central Regional Tournament, they must win 40% of their games. At 11-16, the Lions are currently at .407.

SAGU has 10 games left on their schedule (six at home), requiring they finish with at least four more wins (15) to enter the event. It will be held on April 26-27 in Conway, Arkansas.

Game One Review

A solid defensive effort by SAGU was not enough to overcome a hitting attack that was limited to four singles by MACU’s Jackie Hilterbran.

The sophomore improved her record to 5-3 with a complete game four-hitter. She struck out three and walked two. Only once in the game did she allow a baserunner beyond second base.

Mid-America got all three of their runs in the top of the third inning.

Kaylee Hendon singled to left and then stole second base. The next batter, Hilterbran, helped her own cause with a base knock to left to drive in Hendon.

Erica Love, a 5’10 senior shortstop, delivered the game’s decisive hit. The transfer from Eastern Oklahoma State College (JuCo) lifted a high fly down the rightfield line and wheeled around the bases for a two-run, inside-the-park home run.

It was the seventh bomb of the season for Love, who entered the game with a .490 batting average.

Sophomore pitcher Ashley Abair (Kennedale, Tx / Kennedale HS) kept the Evangels from the scoring in the other six innings.

She allowed eight hits; six of them singles, walked none and whiffed eight in perhaps her best outing of the spring. Her record dropped to 2-3.

An injury to the Lady Lions’ centerfielder may have been the difference in the outcome. She was unable to continue playing and, with no reserves ready to play until late in the game, SAGU was forced to play shorthanded in the field.

Plus, the first two times she (the injured player) was due to bat were automatic outs. It proved costly.

SAGU responded to MACU’s three-spot in the third with their only run of the day in their half of the third.

After an automatic out to start the frame, Bethany Krock (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) singled and moved into scoring position by swiping second. After an infield pop-up to third, Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) got on base thanks to an error by the pitcher.

With runners on the corners, Blayr Huff (Keller, Tx / Liberty Christian) lined a hit to leftfield to drive in Krock. A groundout ended the rally.

The Lady Lions had two other runners advance to second. In the first, Coburn hit a looping single to left and moved up a base on a walk to Huff. A grounder to the pitcher by the next batter ended the scoring threat.

In the bottom of the sixth Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS), who joined the team late in the season after playing for the women’s basketball team, collected her first base hit with a two-out smash to centerfield.

A passed ball got her to second, where she was stranded on a ground ball to third.

In all, SAGU hit 13 groundouts and had three other balls (pops, line-outs) fail to leave the infield. The only ball hit out of the infield was by Hankins, a fourth inning fly she poked to centerfield.

The remaining outs were three strike outs and two automatic outs due to injury.

Summoned to play in an emergency, Theresa Ballard (Austin, Tx / Homeschool) arrived to bat in the seventh. She remained to play the second game.

Game Two Revisited

It was a game of opportunities, where the red-clad visitors made the most of their eight hits in an 11-0 triumph. The game was called after five innings due to the eight-run mercy rule.

SAGU totaled seven hits, but couldn’t deliver with runners on board. The Lady Lions stranded eight in five innings, included two in the second and left the bases loaded in the third.

Besides their hits, MACU took advantage of five walks, three hit batters, six wild pitches and three errors by the Lady Lions. They had six runners left on base.

The Lady Lions attack was led by Coburn, the ballclub’s top hitter. She had a 3-for-3 game with a single to center and two hits to leftfield.

Unfortunately, the league’s No. 2 RBI producer never batted with anyone on base.

The first two batters in the line-up were held hitless in the second game (0-for-6) after a 1-for-8 combined effort in the early game,

Four players collected one hit; three of them singles. Huff looped a hit to left, Kasey Poovey (Nevada, Tx / Community HS) poked one through the right side of the infield and Heather Wyatt (Lake Jackson, Tx / Brazoswood HS) stroked a hit to center.

Ballard came through with the team’s biggest hit of the day.

After two infield pop-ups in the bottom of the fourth preceeded her, the junior ripped a shot beyond the leftfielder’s head, and motored into third with a triple. The next batter grounded out to second.

The Lions’ best chances to score off of MACU’s Amber Tinney, a junior right-hander, came in the second and third.

Hankins was hit by a pitch and Wyatt drove a 1-2 offering to center in the second stanza. An infield pop-up to first and a swinging strikeout finished the inning.

After Tinney retired the leadoff and No. 2 batter in the order, Coburn, Huff and Poovey all singled to fill the bags with ‘Cats. A groundout to third base marooned the three runners.

Tinney, who entered the game with an 8.81 ERA, improved her record to 3-6 and netted her team’s first shutout of the season.

The two teams will be in the same conference next spring. SAGU will move from the Red River Athletic Conference and join the Sooner Athletic Conference. Texas Wesleyan and Northwood University will make the move along with SAGU.

Plus, Southwestern Christian University (Bethany, Ok) will also become a member. They are presently in the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Eagles are presently 3-26 in the MIAC.

MACU ups their overall record to 9-19. They are 0-12 in the SAC.

Monday Night Softball

SAGU plays a single game on Monday night, April 8, at Texas Wesleyan University. The 7:00pm start will take place at Sycamore Park.

Expect a game time temperature of 75 with wind gusts of 21 mph. Weather forecasters are calling for a partly cloudy sky.

Directions: Take 287 northwest towards Ft. Worth, exit Rosedale Avenue east. Turn left at the park’s entrance. The field is the third on the left.

Next Weekend: Bacone College in town for three

SAGU hosts third place Bacone College (13-17, 12-6 in RRAC) next weekend, April 12-13.

A single game will be played on campus on Friday at 3:00pm. An 11:00am doubleheader the following day will include Senior Day festivities. The Lions will honor Heather Wyatt and Cassandra Mata (Crystal City, Tx / Crystal City HS), likely between games.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at or at 469-658-2847.

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