HOUSTON – After six complete innings it looked as if Texas Southern and Southeastern Louisiana would battle out a hard fought contest down to the wire. At that point of the game neither team had scored a run and both the pitchers on the mound for each team kept opposing hitters off balance.
But in the seventh inning that all changed when SLU struck first taking the first advantage of the night as Tori Sheppard connected on a solo homerun to left field. Down by run going into the bottom half of the seventh Texas Southern got the offensive break they had been looking for all night.
Danielle Salazar ripped a shot to left field scoring pinch runner Shannon Colquitt while on that same play the game winning go ahead run was tagged out at home plate in an extremely close call. Fitima Alvizo flied out to right field to end the inning as Southeastern got out of a jam with two TSU runners left on base.
“I’m extremely proud of the way we competed tonight,” said TSU head coach Worley Barker. “Our kids played hard against a quality Southland opponent. We had a couple of close breaks there at the end that could’ve easily changed the outcome of the game.”
A SLU single by Kelsey Nichols would be the deciding factor in the contest as Kayla Elswick managed to get across home plate for what would turn out to be the game winning run. In the bottom half of the eighth Texas Southern left two runners stranded as a popup to SLU’s relief pitcher Racheal Hellyer brought the hard fought contest to a close.
“Our goal is to continue to get better,” said Barker. “”We have a team that works in practice hard and playing games like this early will go a long way towards preparing for conference play. There’s a lot of talented teams in the SWAC in both divisions. We have to get ourselves ready to play at a high level consistently as the season goes on.”
Texas Southern is scheduled to resume play at home on Friday, February 22 with a doubleheader against the University of Houston-Victoria. First pitch on Friday is slated for 2:00 pm at Memorial Park.