McNeese softball will begin play in its fifth Regional Tournament at 3 p.m. Friday against 14th ranked Louisiana-Lafayette in Baton Rouge. LSU will take on Fairfield at 5:30 p.m. The tournament runs through Sunday with the championship game scheduled for 1:30 p.m. All tournament games can be seen on ESPN3 and all Cowgirl games can be heard on the McNeese Radio Network (KEZM 1310) and kezmonline.com.
Individual session tickets will go on sale to the public Thursday at 8 a.m. Reserved chairback seating is $15, reserved bleacher seating is $10, outfield bleachers/Tiger Terrace for adults will be $7 and for youth (ages 0-12) will be $5. Tickets can be purchased through the LSU Athletics Office at (800) 960-8587 or (225) 578-2184. Tickets will also be available on the LSU website at www.LSUtix.net.
Fans need to be aware that LSU has implemented a Clear Bag Policy for all athletic events. More information can be found at http://www.lsusports.net/GeauxClear
McNeese (42-16) is one of three teams in the tournament that have won over 40 games this season and are their conference tournament champions. The Cowgirls earned their second consecutive trip to the Baton Rouge region by cruising through the Southland Conference Tournament, picking up all three victories in run-rule fashion.
The Cowgirls and Ragin' Cajuns (45-6) are both entering the tournament on winning streaks. McNeese is on a program tying 12-game winning streak while UL-Lafayette has won its last 13 games. The Cowgirls are also one win away of tying the school record of 43 wins set by the 2016 team.
This will be the 123rd all-time meeting between the two teams and first of the season. UL-Lafayette holds a 98-24 overall record and has won the last seven games against McNeese.
As a team, McNeese has broke a combined seven school records and one conference record while also leading the conference in 13 statistical categories.
Junior Erika Piancastelli, the three-time Southland Conference Player and Hitter of the Year broke three career records this year including the McNeese and SLC walks record and most recently the McNeese career RBI record against Sam Houston State in the conference tournament. She shattered the career home run record as a sophomore, giving her four total career records.
She will enter the weekend leading the Cowgirls with 12 home runs, 48 RBI, 61 walks, a .678 slugging percent and a .546 on base percent. Her 61 walks rank her fourth in the nation. She is second on the team with a .375 average, 57 hits and 25 stolen bases.
Junior outfielder Justyce McClain, who ranks fourth among players playing in regional tournaments and ninth in the nation with a .447 batting average also leads McNeese with 68 hits and 27 stolen bases. McClain had her school record 20-game hitting streak snapped against Nicholls in the conference tournament championship game.
The Cowgirl pitching staff will enter the weekend with a staff 2.47 ERA. Senior Rachel Smith, the Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year leads the staff with a 17-7 record and has a 2.35 ERA. Smith leads the pitching staff with 91 strikeouts, 151.2 innings pitched and four shutouts. She has won her last five games and 11 of her last 13.
Senior Baylee Corbello is 11-3 on the season with a 3.14 ERA. Corbello went through the conference season undefeated at 7-0. She has 56 strikeouts in 91.1 innings of work with one shutout.
Freshman Alexsandra Flores has an 11-4 record and a staff low 1.50 ERA. She has 58 strikeouts in 102.2 innings along with three shutouts.
The Cowgirls will face the nation's top scoring team and home runs per game squad. The Ragin' Cajuns also have the nation's individual home run (28), RBI (78) and slugging percent (1.055) leader in DJ Sanders.
The winner will advance to play either LSU or Fairfield at 12 p.m. Saturday while the loser will play the LSU/Fairfield loser at 2:30 p.m. in an elimination game. The winner of game 4 and the loser of game 3 will play at 5 p.m. Saturday in another elimination game.
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