LAKE CHARLES—McNeese softball picked up a Southland Conference doubleheader win (5-3, 9-0/5 innings) over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi here Friday night at Joe Miller Park to claim its fourth SLC series of the season and improved to 26-13 overall and 9-5 in league play. The series will conclude with a single game at 1 p.m. Saturday.
"Saldivar (Alexandria) thrives in that situation. She has been swinging the bat well, we were just waiting for the right opportunity to get her up there," said McNeese head coach James Landreneau. "I have a lot of confidence in her to be able to hit the ball through the middle of the field with a runner at second. She has proven that she can hit for average and power."
Pinch hitter Alexandria Saldivar came up with the game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh, a two RBI walk-off home run to help McNeese claim the series opening game.
McNeese jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two RBI bloop single by Taylor Edwards to score Brenique Wright and Erika Piancastelli.
The Islanders (9-27-1, 1-13 SLC) cut the Cowgirl lead in half in the second inning with a solo home run by Kandace Johnson then tied the game at two apiece in the fifth inning on another solo home run, this one by Avery Ratcliff.
Piancastelli led the sixth inning off with one of her bombs- a home run that cleared the shed behind the straight away centerfield wall to even the game up at three all.
The Islanders had a chance to score the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh after leading the inning off with back to back singles. A sac bunt moved both runners up a base but Cowgirl pitcher Alexsandra Flores (13-5) got Keagan Helson and Destiney Diaz to both ground out to second base to end the threat, setting up Saldivar's game winning hit.
Edwards picked up her second hit of the game with a leadoff single to right center to get things going for the Cowgirls. Aubrey Turbeville moved pinch runner Lauren Brown to second base on a sac bunt before Saldivar brought Brown home with her fifth homerun of the season to end the game.
"I just had a clear mind and was looking for a pitch I could drive in a run," Saldivar said.
Edwards led McNeese at the plate with two hits and she and Saldivar accounted for four of the five RBI, both picking up two apiece.
Flores threw her eighth complete game, giving up two earned runs on eight hits, six strikeouts and walked three.
In the nightcap, the Cowgirls didn't waste any time getting on the scoreboard, scoring four runs in the first and second innings and one in the first.
For the second straight game, freshman Ashley Koncir threw a one-hitter in her time in the circle, giving up her only hit off a bunt single to the first batter she faced in the fifth inning. In Tuesday's game against 14th ranked LSU, Koncir gave up one hit in 3 1/3 innings of relief. Koncir (3-0) picked up her first career shutout win with two strikeouts and allowed only one walk before giving way to fellow freshman Caroline Settle who came in to face the final three Islanders of the game. Settle struck out the first two batters she faced then got Ratcliff to pop out to second base to end the game.
"Today, I tried to establish both sides of the strike zone to get my team the easiest outs and my defense did a really good job behind me," said Koncir.
Brown led McNeese at the plate in game 2 by going 3-for-3 with two RBI. Piancastelli picked up two hits along with two RBI. Wright also had two RBI and Justyce McClain scored three runs. Piancastelli, McClain and Carleigh Chaumont all had extra base hits. Piancastelli had a double and both McClain and Chaumont had triples.
"I thought we had some good swings in the first game, we just hit them right at people. The second game we stayed to the plan and we were able to get some ball to fall in and we were able to get some extra bases out of it. Overall, both game our hitters competed well we swung at good pitches we just didn't have a lot to show for it in the first game."