McNeese softball won its school record 24thSouthland Conference game this season with its 11-4, 7-3 doubleheader win over Southeastern Louisiana here Saturday to complete the series sweep. The Cowgirls also ended the regular season having won all nine conference series and enter next week's Southland Conference Tournament on a nine game winning streak.
McNeese (39-16, 24-3 SLC) started the day like they did Friday night in its 13-1, five inning game and that was by taking an early 3-0 lead in the third inning.
"The top of our order did and outstanding job of setting the tempo for all three games this weekend," said head coach James Landreneau. "We were able to put quality at bats together and deliver with timely hitting."
Tori Yanitor gave McNeese a 1-0 lead off a Southeastern La. error. Singles by Justyce McClain and Erika Piancastelli scored the other two Cowgirl runs.
Southeastern, who was fighting for an SLC Tournament spot came back in the bottom of the inning to score two runs on three hits to cut the McNeese lead to 3-2.
McClain would come home in the fifth on a wild pitch to give McNeese a 4-2 lead but the Lady Lions scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at four apiece.
Starting pitcher Baylee Corbello helped herself when she started a two-out Cowgirl rally in the sixth by hitting her first home run of the season that gave McNeese a 5-4 lead. McNeese would tack on two more runs off a double by Alexandria Saldivar.
McNeese blew the game open with four runs in the seventh on four hits. Haile Drew led the inning off with a solo home run, her sixth of the season. An RBI double by Tori Yanitor, a RBI single by Marisa Taunton and a sacrifice fly by Shanice Hagler accounted for the other three runs of the inning.
Corbello, who ended the conference season undefeated, improved to 10-3 overall and 7-0 in league play. Corbello ended her complete game by giving up seven hits, three earned runs, two walks and four strikeouts.
For the second straight game, McNeese totaled 10 or more hits, picking up 13 on Friday and 10 in Saturday's first game of the doubleheader.
McClain, Saldivar and Corbello all had two hits apiece. Saldivar led with two RBI and Corbello scored three runs.
In the final regular season game, the Cowgirls once again took an early lead in the first inning for the third straight game against SE La. by scoring four runs.
McClain led things off with a single followed by a double by Saldivar that sent McClain to third. Piancastelli then hit her second RBI of the day that tied the McNeese career RBI record with 158.
Saldivar gave McNeese a 2-0 lead when she stole home on an executed a double steal. The other two runs came on a two RBI single by Taunton.
Morgan Catron lead the third inning off with a lead off solo home run to give McNeese a 5-0 lead. The home run is Catron's ninth of the year.
Southeastern La. scored two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to cut the lead to 5-3 but two RBI single down the left field line extended the Cowgirl lead to 7-3.
Freshman Alexsandra Flores got the Lady Lions down in order in the seventh to preserve the victory. Flores improved to 11-4 with the complete game win, giving up three unearned runs and two walks.
McNeese, for the third game against SE La. had 10 or more hits, ending this game with 13. Morgan Catron ended the day with a 3-for-4 plate appearance with one RBI and scored two runs. McClain, Saldivar and Taunton all picked up two hits apiece.
"Our entire lineup, one through nine put a lot of stress on their pitching staff all weekend. It's exciting to see our pitching and offense come together this weekend," said Landreneau.
McNeese will head to Conway, Arkansas next week to take part in the Southland Conference Tournament which begins on Wednesday, May 10. The no. 1 seed Cowgirls will face the winner of the no. 4 seed Sam Houston State and the no. 5 seed Central Arkansas at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
The first nine games will be streamed live on the Southland Conference Digital Network for free. The championship game will be on ESPN3 at 3 p.m. Friday, May 12. An if necessary game is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.