By Ryan Cantrell, Assistant Sports Editor
Angelo State defeated the Wildcats 8-3 in extra innings Friday evening, and then took the series with a 13-5 victory to win the LSC championship Saturday.
The Wildcats won the regular season LSC South title, but the Rambelles took the conference championship. ACU took the early lead in the third inning 2-1 in Friday’s evening game.
In the fifth inning, Jacque Gregoire walked the number nine batter in the lineup. This set up Sandy James, who leads the Rambelles in RBI and home runs, as she launched a ball out for her 24th home run of the season. This gave the Rambelles a 3-2 lead.
The Wildcats thought they had tied it when Jessica Shiery sent a ball to deep center field. It was going out when Kristin Frye reached over the wall and made a spectacular catch to rob Shiery of a home run.
The Wildcats led off the next inning with a home run that would go over next to Nancy Sawyers to tie the game. After going into extra innings, the Rambelles’ bats came alive.
The Rambelles hit three doubles and two singles in the eighth inning, scoring five on the Wildcats. ACU could not answer in the bottom of the eighth, and ASU won 8-3.
“We played a good game through seven innings before they put up a lot of runs in the eighth,” Coach Chantiel Wilson said. “We needed to win in seven innings and not let the top of their lineup come back up and get to hit.”
The Wildcats came out again early in the third, putting up five runs to take a 5-0 lead. The Rambelles scored one run in the bottom of the third, and then erupted in the fourth with six runs to take a 7-5 lead. The Wildcats got shut down offensively as they were held hitless in their final three at-bats.
The Wildcats fell apart defensively in the bottom of the six. With two outs, they committed five errors and allowed six unearned runs, giving the Rambelles the run rule victory and the LSC title. Amber Haywood got the win and improved to 17-4, while Britney Benedict was charged with the lose dropping to 5-5.
“We got up early in the second game, and I think that we became over-confident, and you cannot do that against a very good team in Angelo State,” Wilson said. “We also had too many errors and mental mistakes that cost us in their two big innings.”
Angelo State will also be the number one team in the regional and will be a host site. ACU will travel to Southeastern Oklahoma State as the number three seed in the regional, joined by No. 2 seed and host, Southeastern Oklahoma State, No. 6, Missouri Western, and No. 7, Central Missouri.
The regional will be a double elimination tournament. The winner of this sub-regional will play the winner of the sub-regional hosted by Angelo State. The Wildcats will begin the tournament playing Missouri Western at noon Friday.
“We have seen Southeastern before, and they are a good team. We lost to them in extra innings,” Wilson said. “We just need to have error free ball and timely hitting.”