TSUSports.com: Lady Tigers take two from Arkansas–Pine Bluff on Senior Day

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    HOUSTON – The Lady Tigers of Texas Southern University pulled further away from Arkansas–Pine Bluff in the Southwestern Athletic Conference's West Division race by sweeping a Saturday doubleheader from the visiting Lady Lions.

    Texas Southern (17-8-1, 8-0 SWAC) won the opening contest 7-3, and then needed only five innings to take a 9-0 victory in the second game.

    Though the Lady Tigers still have one more home series remaining, the team held its annual Senior Day festivities Saturday, as this weekend provided the best opportunity for the families of all four softball seniors to be in attendance.

    Jasmin Fulmore, one of two seniors from the Pacific Northwest on the TSU roster, picked up a complete-game victory for the Lady Tigers in the opener with family from Washington state in attendance. She struck out five batters while scattering only five hits.

    A four-year letterwinner from Federal Way, Wash., Fulmore allowed just two earned runs as tossed a complete game for the third time in as many as conference games. She improved to 4-3 for the season.

    The senior dominance in the pitcher's circle continued in game two as Lauren Rodriguez struck out nine batters and allowed just three hits en route to a five-inning shutout. Rodriguez improved to 9-0 for the season, with a 5-0 record in SWAC play.

    TSU also honored first baseman Sierra Valdez and second baseman Jocilynn Ellis during the Senior Day ceremony. Valdez scored a run in the opening game, while Ellis went 3-for-5 on the afternoon, with two hits and an RBI in the second game.

    A heads-up defensive play by Ellis and Valdez may have shifted the momentum early in the opening contest. In the first inning, the Lady Lions loaded the bases with one out, when Kayla Ross hit a line drive that was caught by Ellis. The second baseman then got the ball to Valdez to catch Alex Taylor returning to first for an inning-ending double play.

    Madi Marek and Julia Bilbao each knocked three hits in Saturday's opener. Bilbao went 3-for-3 with a game-high two RBIs, which included an RBI triple in the third to score Marek with what turned out to be the game-winning run. Marek opened the scoring with an RBI double in the bottom of the first to score Terren Vinson.

    In game two, the Lady Tigers seized momentum early as they scored five runs in the bottom of the first. Coren Davis' two-RBI double highlighted the inning. Danielle Sonnier's RBI single in the inning was one of two she would tally while going 3-for-3 in the second game.

    Sonnier and Ellis each smacked ground-rule doubles for RBIs in the third inning.

    Though Bilbao finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle in the opening contest, she got that home run in game two with a solo shot in the fourth inning.

    With the pair of losses, Arkansas–Pine Bluff (12-22) fell to 8-5 in SWAC play, two and one-half games behind first-place TSU in the loss column in the conference's Western Division.

    The teams conclude their series on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 11 a.m.

    Courtesy: TSU Athletics
     

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