LAKE CHARLES—McNeese softball manufactured runs when it needed to and came away with a 7-3 rubber game win over Nicholls Saturday to pick up an important Southland Conference series 2-1 that moved the Cowgirls into a first place tie in the league standings.
The win is also McNeese’s 30th of the season to improve to 30-15 overall and 12-6 in the SLC. The 30-win season is the 10th straight for the program. The loss drops Nicholls to 27-13 overall and 12-6 in the SLC.
“I thought our kids bounced back like I expect them too,” said McNeese head coach James Landreneau. “They are resilient and they have always been able to overcome. This weekend was a total team effort. Everybody kind of came together after the first loss and put together some good at bats and started to play our game.”
McNeese took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning off a RBI single by Morgan Catron and then a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Lauren Brown scored Piancastelli from third for the second run.
Nicholls tied the game at two apiece in the second inning with a solo home run by Moriah Strother and then Samantha Dares scored off a single by Emma Holland after she tripled to right center.
McNeese scored single runs in the next three innings and two more in the sixth to extend its lead to 7-2.
In the third inning, Brown singled then stole base before scoring on an RBI single to centerfield by Brenique Wright. An RBI double by Catron in the fourth inning scored McClain for a 4-2 lead then the Cowgirls executed another suicide squeeze, this time off the bat of Aubree Turbeville that brought Brown home for a 5-2 lead.
“There was some big two out walks, I thought we did a good job of not forcing the issue and let the game come to us a little bit. When they made mistakes, we took advantage of them. You never know what the game is going to dictate but today it was about getting some people on and executing,” Landreneau said.
McNeese added two more runs with two outs in the sixth inning when Edwards singled in pinch runner Toni Perrin then Brown’s sacrifice fly to left scored pinch runner Padyn Williams for the 7-2 lead.
Nicholls got a run back in the seventh with a leadoff in the park home run by Kelsey Miller to cut the lead to 7-3.
After Frederick was hit by a pitch and Kali Clement had a 3-1 count with one out, the game was halted for 26 minutes due to rain. When play resumed, Cowgirl starter Alexsandra Flores walked Clement before getting Amanda Gianelloni to fly out to left for the second out then got Strother to pop up to Turbeville behind the plate to end the game.
Flores improved to 14-7 with the complete game, giving up three earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Megan Landry fell to 15-6 on the season with the loss after giving up four earned runs on six hits, four strikeouts, and four walks in 3 2/3 innings.
At the plate, both teams picked up seven hits apiece with Catron and Brown leading McNeese with two apiece. Both players were 2-for-3 with two RBI apiece. Catron accounted for one of two extra base hits for the Cowgirls in the game. McClain led the first inning off with a triple to right center field, her second triple this season. The Cowgirls were also active on the base paths, swiping four bases.
McNeese will host UL-Lafayette on Wednesday, April 18 in a single game beginning at 6 p.m.
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