McNeese softball snapped its five game losing streak with a 9-5 win over Florida International and senior Erika Piancastelli added to her long list of accolades by becoming the McNeese career doubles leader. The career record is her eighth overall and fifth McNeese career record.
“We found a way to pick up a win against a good team tonight,” said head coach James Landreneau. “We put together some good at bats and Flores came in and did a good job of settling the game down and getting it manageable. We did some things tonight that we have been talking about doing. I thought we laid off some really good pitches and we were able to get some traffic on the bases and got timely hitting as well.”
It was Morgan Catron who started where she left off on Tuesday night after hitting a grand slam in the loss against Houston, Catron gave McNeese (17-9) a 2-0 lead in the first with a two run home run for her seventh of the season.
The Cowgirl lead didn’t last long as the Panthers (14-15) scored two runs in the second and third and one in the fourth to lead 5-3.
FIU scored a run on a fielder’s choice and a RBI in the second inning before Julia Gilbert’s two run home run in the third inning gave them a 4-2 lead.
Piancastelli brought McNeese to within one (4-3) on her career record breaking double to right field that scored Justyce McClain.
“Erika is an outstanding player and the thing about these records she is breaking, she doesn’t know she has tied them or is about to break them. She is a great role model for student-athletes across the country because her success hasn’t changed her one bit. She is humble and she comes out every day and competes and works on her game. For her to break another record in front of our home crowd and be able to let our fans witness it and let us be part of it is a special day for McNeese Softball,” Landreneau said.
FIU would get the run back in the fourth for a 5-3 lead before McNeese took advantage of four hits, two walks and three FIU errors to score four runs and a 7-5 lead
Taylor Edwards drew a one out walk and moved into scoring position on a long fly ball to left field by Shelbi Strickland. Lauren Brown drew another walk with two outs and McClain reached on an error that scored Edwards. Piancastelli doubled to center scoring Brown and McClain also scored on an error in an attempt to throw her out at home, all the while Piancastelli rounded second and headed for third. FIU’s starting pitcher Allison Muraskin retrieved the mishandled throw at the plate and attempted to throw Piancastelli out at third but her throw was off the mark, allowing Piancastelli to score.
McNeese added two more insurance runs in the sixth when pinch hitter Shanice Hagler doubled to right that scored pinch runner Toni Perrin and Brown.
McNeese picked up six hits with Piancastelli going 2-for-2 with two RBI, two walks and scored two runs. Catron also had two RBI and McClain and Brown also scored two runs apiece.
Sophomore Alexsandra Flores improved to 7-4 on the season with the victory in relief of starter Amber Coons. Flores gave up three runs on six hits and struck out four and walked two. Coons gave up two runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings.
FIU scattered 10 hits and was led by Jessica Rivera’s 3-for-4 plate appearance. Gilbert was 2-for-4 with two RBI and scored two runs.
McNeese will return to its Southland Conference schedule this weekend when they travel to Huntsville, Texas to face Sam Houston State beginning with a single game at 6 p.m. Friday.
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