LAKE CHARLES – The McNeese State softball team picked up a home doubleheader sweep against Conference USA opponent Florida International on Saturday, winning 9-1 and 5-3 at Cowgirl Field to improve to 18-9 overall on the season. The Cowgirls were led by standout two-game performances by Taylor Goree who batted 4-for-5 with two RBI, Alanna DiVittorio who finished 3-for-4 on the day and Ashley Modzelewski who batted in four runs while going 3-for-5 at the plate.
"I thought our girls came in to today's games and played really well," said head coach Mike Smith. "We swung the bats well today and got a win over a strong opponent in Florida International. They are a great team that has big wins over big schools this year. We came out with a good game plan and executed it well today.
The two teams are slated to meet again on Sunday in the series finale. First pitch is slated for an 11 a.m. start.
Highlights from both games are featured below:
Game One: McNeese State 9, Florida International 1 (Five Innings)
McNeese defeated the Panthers 9-1 in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader. The Cowgirls scored nine runs on nine hits to improve to 17-9 on the year. The Cowgirls were led at the plate by the hot bat of catcher Ashley Modzelewski who went 2-for-4 with four RBI following a home run and a double. Second baseman Taylor Goree added a 3-for-3 effort with one RBI.
Jamie Allred (11-3) picked up the win after tossing 4.0 innings allowing one run (unearned) on two hits while striking out two batters.
Bianca Lilly pitched the final inning and allowed no runs to score and no hits.
Modzelewski started the Cowgirls off in the bottom of the first inning with her two-run home run that was sent over the center field wall for an early 2-0 lead. Shortstop Katie Roux scored a runner on the next play and rounded the bases to home plate on a fielding error caused by the first baseman. The Cowgirls would take a 4-0 lead.
Florida International got on the board in the second inning on a single dropped into left field from Aleim Lopez that allowed Gabby Spallone to score from third to cut the lead to three runs.
With no outs and runners on first and second, Modzelewski belted a double into left field, in the bottom of the inning, scoring two more runs while a single from Taylor Goree sent the Cowgirls' third run of the inning. Goree would then reach home on back-to-back wild pitches from the Panthers.
McNeese added one more run in the bottom of the third as Lakeyn Fontenot plated the last run following a 6-4-6 caught stealing play on Alanna DiVittorio.
Game Two: McNeese State 5, Florida International 3
The Cowgirls powered their way to a victory in game two of Saturday's doubleheader with a homer and a double from centerfielder Alanna DiVittorio, who went 3-for-4 in the game along with two RBI.
The Panthers got on top of McNeese in the third inning with an RBI-triple from first baseman Stephanie Texeira to take a 1-0 lead.
DiVittorio struck first for McNeese with a two-run bomb over the left field wall, scoring Tori Rich who led off the third inning with a walk, giving the Cowgirls a 2-1 lead.
DiVittorio made it 3-1 as she crossed home plate on a wild pitch in the fifth inning. With one out, Goree doubled to left field to bring home pinch runner Marisa Taunton to score.
Shortstop Katie Roux scored McNeese's fifth and final run of the game on an RBI-double that scored Goree from second.
The Panthers attempted a comeback in the top of the seventh, using two RBI-doubles to cut the lead to a 5-3 score but could not score baserunners near the end as leftfielder Lauren Langner made a spectacular catch on a fly out to get the last out and secure the win for the Cowgirls
Rachal Smith improved to 4-2 on the season after pitching 6.0 innings and allowed just three runs (one earned) to score off of five hits and fanned five batters.
Allred appeared in the last inning to pick up her first save of the year for McNeese allowing just one hit and one walk.