NATCHITOCHES—McNeese softball split a doubleheader against Northwestern State Saturday to win the Southland Conference series 2-1. McNeese dropped the first game 6-2 before picking up the final game of the series by a 5-1 score.
McNeese improved to 24-12 overall and 7-5 in the SLC while Northwestern State fell to 21-11 overall and 9-3 in the SLC.
In the opening game, Northwestern State used the long ball to score five of its six runs. Cayla Jones gave the Lady Demons the early lead with a solo homer in the first inning.
The Cowgirls took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning off a sacrifice fly by Megan Holmes and an RBI single to left by Alexandria Saldivar.
One inning later, NW State tied the game at two-all on an RBI single up the middle by Sydney Harris.
Northwestern State did most of their damage in the sixth inning when Cowgirl starter Caroline Settle could close the door after getting the first two outs. Settle then gave up two straight singles then a walk to load the bases before being replaced by Alexsandra Flores.
“I thought Settle gave us a great performance. She was able to keep hitters off balance. We couldn’t get the timely hit and Brown pitched an outstanding game for them,” said head coach James Landreneau.
Cayla Jones was the only batter Flores faced and with a 0-1 count, Jones hit the next pitch over the centerfield wall for a grand slam that gave the Lady Demons a 6-2 lead. After Flores walked the next batter, Ashley Koncir got the Cowgirls off the field by getting Julie Rawls to pop out to short.
The Cowgirls couldn’t bring Justyce McClain home after she led the seventh off with a walk and left her stranded on second base when the game ended.
McNeese collected four hits, all singles coming from Catron, Wright, Lauren Brown, and Saldivar. Flores took the loss in relief to fall to 11-5 on the year.
Mikayla Brown improved to 8-2 with the complete game victory and Jones led the offense with a 4-for-4 plate appearance with five RBI.
Not only did the Cowgirls bounce back in the second game but so did Flores. Flores picked up her second complete game victory of the series to improve to 12-5 on the year. She allowed only three hits, one unearned run, struck out two and walked two.
“We were able to get started early with some runs in the first inning. It looked like we were seeing the ball well but they did a good job of minimizing the damage when we got runners on. Flores gave us another gutsy performance, she attacked the strike zone.”
As a team, the Cowgirls collected 11 hits with Catron leading the way with three hits. Erika Piancastelli had three RBI including a two-run home run in her first at-bat of the game that gave McNeese a 2-0 lead. The Cowgirls added another run in the first inning on an RBI single by Shanice Hagler for a 3-0 lead.
Northwestern State avoided the shutout with a run in the fifth on a sac bunt by Adele Vincent but the Cowgirls answered with two more runs in the sixth for the 5-1 lead. Piancastelli’s double down the left field line scored pinch runner Padyn Williams and Catron singled to second base to score McClain.
McNeese will return home Tuesday to host nationally ranked LSU at 6:07 p.m. Tickets are still available for the game and can be purchased online at mcneesesports.com. Due to the Easter holiday, the ticket office will be closed Monday, April 2.
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