The Arkansas-Pine Bluff softball team split a SWAC doubleheader with Grambling State on Saturday afternoon at Torii Hunter Softball Complex, but won a series in the process.

The Arkansas-Pine Bluff softball team split a SWAC doubleheader with Grambling State on Saturday afternoon at Torii Hunter Softball Complex, but won a series in the process.

After dropping the first game 8-5 in heartbreaking fashion, the Lady Lions rebounded for a 5-4 come-from-behind win in the daycap to secure at least a tie for second place in the SWAC Western Division with Southern. Prairie View led the West at 3-3 entering its Saturday doubleheader against Southern (2-4).

UAPB (5-24, 3-4 SWAC) had a chance to claim both games Saturday after opening the weekend series with a 6-5 win Friday. It was the first series win for UAPB under interim coach Chrystal Bowers.

“We have had some close calls,” Bowers said about trying to win a series. “But this is the first time since I have been here.”

After watching a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning evaporate into a three-run deficit in the end of the opener, the Lady Lions overcame a 3-1 deficit in the top of the seventh inning in Game 2 when Amanda Nordberg and Tiressa Jacobs singled off Grambling’s Angela Perez. Heather Leigh plated the tying runs with a double to center and was chased home on a groundout from Nicole Frazier.

UAPB starting pitcher CeCe Kolesar issued a free pass to Perez to start the bottom of the frame and Karroni Brown singled to put the potential go-ahead run on base with no outs. Jassitte Richardson moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, setting the table for Grambling’s Nos. 2 and 3 hitters, Bridgette Simmons and Latrice Wood.

Simmons worked deep in the count before lining a shot back up the middle, but Kolesar stabbed the line drive and then caught Wood looking at strike three to end the game.

“I just saw it and went for it, then started looking for the next out,” Kolesar said of Simmons’ hard liner. “And that was a huge end to the game. It was a little bit outside, but when you have two strikes on you as a batter you have to protect the plate. That was a close pitch and the umpire thought it was close enough to call strike three … so we got it.”

Bowers said the Lady Lions are showing continual signs of improvement.

“These girls fought from beginning to end,” Bowers said. “We have been working on the mental aspect of the game and it seems to be taking effect with them. They are working and they are fighting every time. Every time we get on the field, they are not giving up.”

Grambling coach Wilbert Early agreed.

“This is probably the best Pine Bluff has played since I’ve been around the conference for the past 15 years,” Early said. “This is probably the best both of these teams have played against each other.”

Grambling dropped to 8-14 and 2-5.

UAPB announced an addition to the softball schedule, as the Lady Lions will travel to Oxford, Miss. on May 1 to play a doubleheader at Ole Miss.