-by Pam LaFosse
Cowgirls Clinch Outright Southland Conference Title
LAKE CHARLES— McNeese softball did more than it had to do Saturday to clinch its second consecutive regular season Southland Conference title by taking a doubleheader from Lamar. McNeese entered the game needing just one win for the outright title but came away with two mercy-rule wins, a 9-1 (6 inn.) first game victory and a 9-0 (5 inn.) second game victory.
The title is the fourth overall regular season title in school history, tying McNeese with Northwestern State and Nicholls for most titles among active Southland Conference schools. Texas State has the all-time record with six.
McNeese is also the first school to win back-to-back titles since 2010. The last school to win back-to-back titles was also Texas State. The Bobcats who won the regular season title three consecutive years (2008, 2009, 2010).
Third year head coach Mike Smith is the first McNeese coach to win multiple regular season titles and is the first active Southland coach to earn that feat as well.
In the opening game, Lamar took a 1-0 lead when the second batter of the game hit a solo home run. The lead didn't last long as McNeese scored runs in five of the six innings played. The Cowgirls scored three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-1 lead. A RBI single up the middle by Lauren Langner scored Alanna DiVittorio to tie the game at one all. After a walk by Emily Vincent and a fielder's choice by Ashley Modzelewski, Taylor Goree laced a triple down the right field line, scoring both Vincent and Modzelewski for the 3-1 lead.
A double off the left field wall in the third inning by Goree extended the Cowgirl lead to 4-1. Modzelewski reached base on a fielder's choice then came around to score on Goree's double.
McNeese added two more runs in the fourth and fifth for an 8-1 lead. The final run of the game couldn't have been scripted any better for senior Stacey Conley. With the Cowgirls needing one more run to win by the mercy rule, Conley was put in the game to pinch hit for Modzelewski. Conley took advantage of her opportunity and hit a walk-off home run over the left field wall to end the game to clinch the outright title.
Sophomore Jamie Allred broke the single season wins record with her 24th win of the season to improve to 24-7 overall. Allred gave up six hits, struck out five and walked only two batters.
McNeese pounded out 13 hits in the game, with four players collecting two apiece. Goree ended the game with three RBI.
McNeese completed the doubleheader victory win its second run-rule victory of the day with a 9-0 (5 inn.) win. The Cowgirls' bats remained hot as McNeese picked up 10 hits in the game. DiVittorio led the Cowgirls with two hits in the game and Rachel Smith picked up the victory to improve to 8-4 on the season with her fourth shutout of the season. She gave up three hits, struck out nine and walked one.