BEAUMONT — Lamar opened its first season in 26 years in style, defeating UTSA by scores of 3-2 and 7-5 on Saturday for a season-opening doubleheader sweep at Ford Park.
Courtney Buchman went 3-for-6 with a double, triple and three RBIs to lead the Roadrunners (0-2). Jolene Graham, Alexis Ramirez and Vivian Tijerina collected three hits apiece, while Megan Low added three RBIs.
Meanwhile, the Lady Cardinals (2-0) got home runs from Candyce Carter and Corry Beverly along with a first-game walk-off long-ball from Ashley McDowell en route to the sweep. Shannon Millman and Tina Schulz picked up victories in the circle. The duo combined to allow six earned runs in 14 innings of work.
The three-game series wraps up at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Game #1: Lamar 3, UTSA 2
Playing in its first contest since the end of the 1987 season, Lamar got on the board in the bottom of the second on Carter’s one-out blast to center field off UTSA starter Haylee Staton.
The Roadrunners tied the score in the third on Buchman’s two-out double to right center. Alexis Ramirez got the inning going with a one-out two-bagger to center before coming around on Buchman’s hit.
However, the Lady Cardinals quickly regained the upper hand with a run-scoring double from Lauren Gambone in the fourth and the score remained 2-1 heading to the seventh.
Ramirez led off the final inning with a single and moved to second on Darian Blake’s sacrifice bunt. She then moved to third on a grounder and scored on McDowell’s error at first to tie the score.
However, after a fly out to start the bottom of the seventh, McDowell atoned for her miscue with a walk-off homer that gave the Lady Cardinals their first win since defeating Stephen F. Austin, 3-1, with five games remaining in the 1987 campaign.
Staton (0-1) went the distance for UTSA, allowing three runs on five hits. She walked three and struck out seven.
Meanwhile, Shannon Millman (1-0) tossed a complete game six-hitter.
Game #2: Lamar 7, UTSA 5
Lamar jumped out to a 6-0 lead and held off a UTSA rally in the late innings behind a complete-game effort from Schulz.
The Lady Cardinals (2-0) scored twice in the first and a pair in the third off Roadrunners’ starter Alyssa Vordenbaum before tagging Graham for another two in the fourth.
However, UTSA did not go away and cut the deficit in half with a three-run fifth.
Tijerina and Victoria Birdwell opened the frame with hits before Ramirez walked to load the bases. Schulz fanned pinch hitter Jori Fox before surrendering an infield RBI single to Buchman. Low followed with a two-run double to right field to make it 6-3.
Lamar got one run back in the bottom of the panel on a sacrifice fly.
Blake coaxed a leadoff walk in the seventh and came around to score on Buchman’s triple to right center to pull UTSA to within three at 7-4. Low then picked up her third RBI of the game with a grounder to second that plated Buchman and Graham followed with a single to right. An error on right fielder Jenna Holland put Graham at second, but Schulz was able to avoid further damage with a strikeout and ground out to end the game.
Vordenbaum (0-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs in three frames of work.