The Arkansas-Pine Bluff softball team had no trouble carrying momentum into Saturday’s games, but the Lady Lions struggled to maintain it.
UAPB let early leads slip away in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader with Grambling State, ultimately falling 7-6 and 11-4 at Torii Hunter Softball Complex.
After winning the series opener, 4-1, on Friday, UAPB built a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first in Saturday’s first game. Just as quickly, though, Grambling State plated four in the top of the second, eventually taking a 7-3 lead into the seventh.
UAPB (7-30, 3-8 SWAC) rallied to score three runs in the seventh on a home run by Tiressa Jacobs, but it wasn’t enough.
The momentum from the rally, though, seemed to carry over into Game 2. The Lady Lions opened with a pair of two-run innings, but once again saw an early lead slip away.
Grambling State (11-15, 6-8) scored the game’s final 11 runs to take the series.
“I think it did carry over,” UAPB coach Tiffany Ansley said of the momentum. “We fought back hard in the first game today, and I think that carried over to the second.
“I also thought the momentum from Friday’s game carried over to the first game today.”
UAPB might have found the way to carry momentum over from one game to another, but Grambling found a way to maintain momentum within a game.
“I think it was just a lack of energy to be perfectly honest,” Ansley said of the blown leads.
In the second game, the Lady Tigers’ comeback started with a two-run homer in the third inning by first baseman Morgan Butler to cut the Lady Lions’ lead to 4-2.
“Not really,” Ansley said when asked if that swung the momentum. “That’s happened in the past and it hasn’t really affected us.
“To me it just said it would be a good rest of the game and that neither team would let up.”
Butler, though, did feel like her hit helped spark Grambling.
“I definitely think that helped,” she said. “With our team hitting is pretty contagious.
“When one person starts hitting everyone else seems to come out, too.”
Grambling scratched across two more runs in the fourth inning to tie the score, but in the bottom of the fifth UAPB had a chance to regain the lead.
Back-to-back singles by Jacobs, who finished the day 5 for 7, and Kelsey Ridgeway opened the frame. After a fly out and fielder’s choice the Lady Lions still had runners at first and second with two outs.
Grambling brought Angela Perez, who pitched the entire first game, on in relief of Aaliyah Lowe. Perez (9-17) was able to get Jasmine Hardwrick to line out to end the threat as she went on to pitch the final 2 1/3 innings to earn her second win of the day.
The Lady Tigers struck for three runs in the sixth to take the lead and four in the seventh to pull away.
The big blows came off the bat of Perez in the form of a two-run homer in the sixth and two-run single in the seventh.
The one-out homer chased UAPB starter Lacie Sutterfield (6-16), who also took the loss in Game 1 after throwing the first four innings.
“We just got the momentum,” Perez said of the comeback. “We started to get some walks and get people on base.
“Then we came through with timely hits.”