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UTSA faced the Sam Houston State Bearkats for three-game weekend, coming out on top of the series with a 2-1 record.

The UTSA Women’s Softball team began a three game series against Sam Houston State with a loss at Roadrunner Field on February 28, 2009. The Sam Houston Bearkats struck first with three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 3-0 advantage. The three run series began when Runners pitcher Danye Holmes walked two Bearkats: Cali Wood and Sarah Parich.

With two on, Mandy Gegan gave up a sacrifice bunt to put the runners on second and third and Amy Brown would bring them home on an up-the-middle single. Casie Everitt ended the series by bringing Amy Brown home with a fielder’s choice groundout.

The Runners would respond with four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to claim the lead. After singles from Leanne Risberg and Kristin Kappler and a walk from Kristin Wehmeyer, the bases were loaded with no outs. Junior first basemen Krista Sitka brought the first runner in on a base hit up the middle, which was followed by a Kelly Kato walk to bring home the second run. After a pair of outs, Amber Anderson drilled a double to left center to give the Runners a 4-3 lead.

The Bearkats took little time to respond with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to ice the game. After a single and walk, the Bearkats used a sacrifice bunt from Wood to put runners on second and third. Parich’s pop fly brought home the equalizing run and Gegan reached home on a walk to help the Bearkats reclaim the lead. The nail in the coffin came from Brown whose single brought two runners home to give the Bearkats a 6-4 lead.

The Runners’ offense was lead by Sitka with two hits and the Bearkats were lead by Brown with two hits and four RBI’s.

Game two went in the Runners’ favor, where they crushed SHSU 7-1. Junior Krista Sitka had a record day, going 4-4 and collecting five RBIs (runs batted in) in the second game of UTSA’s double-header Saturday afternoon. With the victory, UTSA garnered their 500th win of the program.

The final game held on Sunday, was a bit more exciting. Early on, it looked as if SHSU would return the favor. The Bearkats got things started in the top of the first with a base hit that rode the 3rd base foul line, giving SHSU the 1-0 advantage from UTSA’s starting pitcher Emily Humpal. SHSU increased their lead to two with a Mandy Gegen base hit that streaked past Humpal.

At the top of the 3rd, the Bearkats scored two more runs, making the score 4-0. The Runners were unable to produce any runs for the first two and a half innings. In the bottom of the 3rd, with UTSA at bat and the bases loaded, Kristin Kappler sent a pitch from Sam Houston’s Brandi Crnkovic 210 feet, easily clearing the left field fence and tying the game at four-all.

The score remained tied at four until the bottom of the 4th, when UTSA’s Rudi Cantu stole 2nd, putting her in position to score, which she did, on the ensuing pitch when Amber Anderson’s line drive to center field brought her home, putting the Runners up 5-4.

The top of the 6th saw Sam Houston come back to life with a two-run homer by Casie Everitt, giving the lead back to the Bearkats, 6-5. UTSA would score in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game when Ashley Kappler’s base hit snuck past the Bearkats’ pitcher Crnkovic.

UTSA’s Danye Holmes came in to pitch for Humpal to start the 7th inning. The game remained at a 6-6 tie until the bottom of the 8th. The Runners managed to load the bases for Leanne Risberg, who hit a grand-slam home run, ending the game, and lifting the Runners to a 10-6 victory. The HR (home run) was Risberg’s first of the season.

Risberg commented on such a clutch HR: “That’s the kind of HR you want to hit, a clutch hit like that one. It’s nice to be the one to come through for the team.” When asked about the Runners’ upcoming games at McNeese State, and what it will take to score big against them, Risberg said, “We just need to keep playing like we’ve been playing, and that’s as a team. If we can keep playing as a team, we should be good for the rest of the season.”

Head Coach Lori Cook felt the series went well. “This was a very hard fought series. SHSU is a very good team; they have one of the top pitchers in the conference (Crnkovic).” Coach Cook echoed Risberg’s feelings about the upcoming games at McNeese State: “We should enjoy this victory over a tough opponent (SHSU), but we have to stay focused too. We have to be ready to go down and face McNeese and have to play them well. We can’t take them lightly.”

With the wins, UTSA improves to 10-8 over all, and 5-1 in Southland Conference play.

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