LAKE CHARLES—McNeese softball has relied on timely hitting and there wasn’t any hit more timed than senior Morgan Catron’s walk off home run in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Incarnate Word (6-17, 2-7) that gave the Cowgirls a 6-5 win to complete the series sweep over the Cardinals. The Cowgirls took the first game of the doubleheader by a 5-4 score.
“Our kids are resilient and they compete hard in the box,” said head coach James Landreneau. “We knew Incarnate Word was going to be a scrappy team, they fight you until the end and they were able to put some good bats together and put some stress on us- they did a good job. I’m proud of our kids for staying in it and fighting and we had some timely hitting today, which is big. We could have easily folded but our kids kept competing.”
McNeese (22-10, 5-4 SLC) headed into the bottom of the seventh inning trailing 5-4 after Incarnate Word broke a 4-4 tie with a RBI single by Hope Sobolewski that gave UIW a 5-4 lead.
Pinch hitter Taylor Edwards began the Cowgirl rally with a leadoff double that brought up the top of the Cowgirl order with Erika Piancastelli. Piancastelli went down swinging and Justyce McClain flew out to left field for the second out. Catron, who is no stranger to being in this situation, calmly waited for the right pitch. When she got the pitch she was looking for, there was no doubt it was headed out of the park.
“Teddy (Taylor Edwards) has had some really good bats at practice. She’s been playing with a lot more confidence and we as a coaching staff have been looking for some opportunities to get her some good swings and she handled that at bat really well.”
Catron ended the game 3-for-4 at the plate, with all her hits being extra base hits. She had a solo homer in the second and doubled in the fifth before her walk off in the seventh. She ended the game with four RBI and scored three runs.
“I was just trying to keep it simple and try to get a good ball I could handle and get a good swing on it,” Catron said.
UIW took an early 1-0 lead in the first but the Cowgirls countered with a run in the bottom of the inning with Piancastelli beginning the Cowgirl batting with a solo home run to center field.
The Cardinals scored a run in the third and the Cowgirls scored two in the bottom of the inning, via a Catron two run homerun for a 3-2 lead. UIW tied the game at three apiece with a single run in the fifth but McNeese regained the lead in the bottom half of the fifth on a RBI single by Alexandria Saldivar that scored Catron for 4-2 lead. UIW once again tied the game with a run in the sixth then took the lead in the seventh, setting up the dramatic ending.
Alexsandra Flores improved to 10-4 with the win in relief of starter Ashley Koncir. Koncir gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings while Flores gave up two runs on five hits in two innings.
In the opening game of the doubleheader, UIW jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second but the Cowgirls quickly took the lead with four runs in the bottom of the inning on five hits. Brenique Wright’s three run home run gave McNeese a 3-2 lead then Piancastelli singled in Carleigh Chaumont for the 4-2 lead.
McNeese added a run in the third when Megan Holmes who pinch ran for Saldivar was on second base. Wright hit a routine pop up to first base with two outs but the first baseman dropped what was the sure third out, in the meantime, Holmes continued to round third and scored on the play to take a 5-2 lead.
Caroline Settle was perfect in the circle for the next three innings, not allowing a base run to reach until giving up a leadoff single, wild pitch then another single before giving way to reliever Amber Coons. Coons would face two batters and gave up one hit before Flores came in the game with two outs and the tying run on second base. Flores struck out pinch hitter Jessica Rodriguez and got Victoria Bratcher to ground out to second to end the game and picked up her first save of the season.
The win is Settles first conference win of the season and she improves to 6-5 overall. Settle gave up four runs on five hits in six innings. She walked two and struck out three.
McNeese picked up seven hits in the game and was led with two from Wright who also had four RBI.
McNeese will return home of Wednesday, March 28 to host South Alabama in a single game beginning at 6 p.m.
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