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Bears win extra-inning thriller in series finale against Lady Lions

Tylar Vernon led the offense with a 2-for-2 day with two runs scored, two walks, and one RBI.
Credit: Jaden Powell / UCA Sports

HAMMOND, Louisiana — The Central Arkansas softball team needed extra innings to defeat the Southeastern Louisiana Lady Lions 7-6 on Saturday. UCA improved to 31-17 overall and 18-6 in the Southland Conference, while SLU dropped to 26-19 overall and 13-8 in SLC play.
 
Jenna Wildeman led off the game with a single up the middle. She then stole second and third. Kaylyn Shepherd flew out to right for the sacrifice fly as Wildeman was able to score.
 
The Lady Lions tied the game in the bottom of the first on an RBI double by Kelci Bodin.
 
Tremere Harris doubled to left center to start the top of the fifth. Kristen Whitehouse dropped down a sac bunt to move Harris to third. Tylar Vernon singled to left field and drove in Harris. After a ground out advanced Vernon to third, Wildeman singled down the left field line and allowed Vernon to score. UCA took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
 
Hill led off the top of the sixth with a single to right field. Megan Crownover pinch ran for Hill. Erin Blackburn drew a four-pitch walk. Harris reached on a fielder's choice as Crownover was out at third. Whitehouse singled to right center and drove in Blackburn from second. Vernon drew a walk. Sperling reached base safely on a throwing error by the second baseman and scored Harris on the play. Gabbi Scott, who pinch ran for Whitehouse, scored on a passed ball and gave UCA a 6-1 lead.
 
In the bottom of the seventh, SLU scored five runs on four hits and left two runners on base. The game was sent to extra innings.
 
The Bears loaded the bases in the top of the eighth, but UCA was unable to get a run across. In the home half of the inning, SLU managed to get runners on second and third, but the UCA defense came up big to keep the Lady Lions off of the board.
 
After both teams went down in order in the ninth, Vernon drew a one-out walk. Vernon stole second with two outs to move into scoring position. Wildeman came up with a huge single to center field and scored Vernon. UCA took a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the 10th.
 
Kayla Beaver got the win with 3.2 innings of relief and improved to 17-6 overall. She picked up two strikeouts on just one hit. Rio Sanchez got the start and went two innings with one earned run on four hits. Jordan Johnson went 4.1 innings in relief and struck out two batters. She gave up five runs, three earned, on six hits.
 
Vernon led the offense with a 2-for-2 day with two runs scored, two walks, and one RBI. Wildeman finished with a 3-for-4 day with two RBIs and added three more stolen bases to her single-season record.
 
Anna Rodenberg led SLU with a 3-for-5 day at the plate. Audrey Greely added two hits. Heather Zumo got the loss with 7.2 innings pitched. She tallied five strikeouts and gave up four runs, three earned, on seven hits. MC Comeaux added one strikeout, one earned run, in 0.1 inning of work. Ellie DuBois went 2.0 innings in relief with three strikeouts and gave up two runs, one earned.
 
The Bears return to the friendly confines of Farris Field for the final series of the regular season. Central Arkansas welcomes Lamar. The doubleheader on Friday, May 7, is scheduled for a 4 p.m. first pitch.
 
From the Coach – Head Coach David Kuhn
"We just kept playing softball! It was a huge sweep! We played really well all weekend. It was great to see us come back and win, Especially after SLU's amazing comeback in the seventh!"