After two lightning delays, five lead changes and two ties, South Alabama walked away with a 9-6 softball victory here Wednesday night in a game that lasted four hours and snapped McNeese’s five-game winning streak.
McNeese (22-11) led 6-5 after the fifth inning but South Alabama (18-14) scored four runs in the sixth with three of their four runs coming off solo home runs by Kristian Foster, Lyric Cabral and Haleigh Lowe. The home runs are the first of the season for all three players.
Both teams missed several scoring opportunities with the Cowgirls leaving 13 base runners stranded and the Jaguars leaving 11 stranded.
The Cowgirls picked up six hits off both Jaguar pitchers, getting four off starter Devin Brown and two against reliever Alexis Reid who picked up the win to improve to 7-6 on the year.
South Alabama picked up 16 hits, getting seven off Cowgirl starter Caroline Settle, six from first reliever Amber Coons and three from reliever Ashley Koncir. Coons took the loss to fall to 4-2.
Justyce McClain led the Cowgirls with two hits and Hailey Drew collected the only extra base hit for McNeese with a double in the third. Morgan Catron was credited with two of the five Cowgirl RBI.
Three Jaguars had three hits including Lyric, Kaleigh Todd and Megan Harris. Designated player Brittani Reid knocked in three of the nine Jaguar runs.
The Jaguars opened the game with a run in the first inning on a single down the left field line by B. Reid. Before the Cowgirls could get their first chance to bat, the game was delayed for 30 minutes due to a lightning delay.
When the game resumed, McNeese scored in four straight innings with three coming in the second inning to take a 3-1 lead. The Cowgirls took advantage of four walks by the Jaguars’ starting pitcher Devin Brown. Justyce McClain and Piancastelli drew bases-loaded walks for a 2-0 lead then Catron was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for the 3-1 lead.
South Alabama countered with three runs on four hits in the third inning to take a 4-3 lead. The Cowgirls tied the game at four apiece in the bottom of the third when Piancastelli stole third and came home on an errant throw trying to get her out at third.
Both teams scored a single run in the fourth for a 5-5 tie then the Cowgirls retook the lead again in the fifth on a two-out RBI single to left by Catron that scored McClain for a 6-5 lead.
South Alabama came back in the top of the sixth to tie the game again with a leadoff solo home run by Foster then with two outs, Cabral gave the Jags the lead again at 7-6 on another solo home run before the second lightning delay occurred. The Jaguars would score two more runs after the delay to take a 9-6 lead.
Koncir got the Jags to go down in order in the top of the seventh. It was the first time in the game that either team went down in order.
McNeese entered its final at-bat with the top of the order coming up. McClain led off with a walk but Reid got Piancastelli to go down looking then got Catron to go down swinging before Alexandria Saldivar grounded out to third to end the game.
McNeese will return to Southland Conference action this weekend when they will travel to Natchitoches to face league-leading Northwestern State in a three-game series beginning Friday.
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