Ladies Win in Dramatic Fashion, Push Win Streak to 12
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

SHREVEPORT—The Centenary softball team fell behind early to Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday, but used a late surge and two clutch hits from Allison McClain to pull out a dramatic 4-3 victory in extra innings. The win ties the school record for the longest win streak at 12 games and pushes the Ladies home record to a perfect 11-0 this season.


Centenary (21-15), as it has a lot of late, began the game with a rally in the first inning.


Cailtin Cavarra led off with a walk and advanced to second on a single by Bonnie Matak. Emerald Doria flew out to the left field warning track, narrowly missing a three-run homerun, but Allison Shepperd followed with a single. However, Cavarra was gunned down at the plate for the second out of the inning. Haley Bassett then struck out with runners on second and third to end the threat without a run.


Southeastern Louisiana (21-10) seemed to take the momentum and capitalized on some Centenary hospitality in the third inning.


Jill Machleit began the frame by being hit by a Stacy Whitmer pitch, Centenary’s starting pitcher. Kaley Christy also reached base on a fielding error by Whitmer, who could not handle a come-backer to the mound. With runners on first and second, Whitmer bore down on the Lion hitters and struck out the next two batters. But, Katie Duhe ripped the first of her two doubles on the evening to left center field to stake SLU to a 2-0 lead.


Both teams made pitching changes in the following innings. To start the fourth, Southeastern Louisiana took out Rachel Ray, who tossed three scoreless frames, in favor of seldom used Aimee Arceneaux. Arceneaux entered the game with just 1.2 innings of work on the season. Meanwhile, Centenary countered with Ryan Thacker to start the fifth.


Arceneaux held the Ladies at bay until the sixth inning. Shepperd singled to center with one out and Bassett then laced a double down the right field line. Shepperd scored all the way from first to cut the deficit in half for Centenary. With two outs now, McClain came through with the first of two big hits on the day when she looped a single into right field that plated Bassett with the tying run.


Lauren Highsmith entered the game in the circle for Centenary in the seventh and sat the Lions down without a run. Yet, the Ladies went down in order in the bottom half of the frame to send the game into extra innings.


Both coaches elected to go straight to the international tiebreaker system. As a result, each team would begin each subsequent inning with a runner on second base.


Machleit, who was the last batted out in the seventh for SLU, was placed on second base to start the eighth. She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored immediately after on a single by Christy. Highsmith then got a double play and a groundout to end the inning.


Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Centenary began its inning with Bonnie Matak on second base. Matak advanced to third on a wild pitch as well, but was still there after Doria’s grounder to third base resulted in an out.


With the tying run just 60 feet away, Shepperd lined a double to score Matak and gave Centenary new life with the winning run in scoring position. The crowd was in a frenzy when Arceneaux walked Bassett and Lauren Flowers to load the bases, forcing a pitching change by Southeastern Louisiana coach Pete Langlois.


Langlois brought in Nicole Shoenberger to face McClain. However, McClain came up big again as her single made its way through the right side of the infield to score Shepperd with the game-winning run to a thunderous ovation from the fans.


Highsmith (2-4) picked up her second win of the season, allowing just the one run in the extra inning, but none earned. Whitmer struck out seven in four innings in the circle on just two hits and surrendered two unearned runs as well. Thacker pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two.


Shepperd and McClain each went 3-for-4 on the day. Shepperd added two runs and an RBI, while McClain drove in two in the win. Bassett added two hits and the Ladies totaled 10 hits on the day.


Centenary has now won 19 of its last 21 games and will look for their record-breaking 13th consecutive win tomorrow when they travel to face Louisiana-Monroe at 6 p.m.