NACOGDOCHES, Texas— McNeese softball stranded 20 base runners and struggled to get the timely hitting it needed while its pitching staff gave up a combined four home runs that accounted for 10 of the 15 Stephen F. Austin runs scored in a Southland Conference doubleheader loss (11-8, 4-3) Saturday.
The conference series loss is only the second series loss for McNeese this season after opening the conference schedule being swept at Central Arkansas.
McNeese (34-18, 16-8 SLC) will return home next weekend to host Southeastern Louisiana in its regular season series finale before hosting the Southland Conference Tournament May 8-11.
Like in Friday’s game, Erika Piancastelli got things going in the first game of the doubleheader with a two out bases clearing double to center field for a 3-0 McNeese lead. Carliegh Chaumont drew a leadoff walk, Lauren Brown beat out an infield single and Justyce McClain walked to load the bases before Piancastelli’s double.
SFA (29-18, 17-7 SLC) got a run in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff single by Amber Landry. Landry stole second and moved to third on a sac bunt before scoring on a ground out.
The Ladyjacks’ bats heated up in the third inning as SFA scored three runs on three hits with two outs to take a 4-3 lead. Bryana Novegil tripled down the left field line then Taylor Fraccastoro doubled to left center before Margarita Corona homered to right center.
SFA extended its lead to 9-3 after scoring five runs in the fourth. Three of the Ladyjacks’ runs came off a three run home run by Madison Selman that put SFA up 7-3 lead. SFA drew back-to-back walks before Selman’s home run.
McNeese got three runs back in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 9-6 when Piancastelli and Morgan Carton hit back-to back home runs and a ground out by Chaumont allowed Brenique Wright to score from third after she doubled then moved to third on a ground out. The home run for Piancastelli is her 18th of the season and it’s the 11th of the season for Catron.
The Cowgirls got within one run (9-8) with two more runs in the sixth. A two out RBI double to right center by Alexandria Saldivar allowed both McClain and Piancastelli to score. Chaumont was robbed of at least a single and what would have potentially scored Saldivar from second to tie the game when Landry made a nice catch at third to end the inning.
Landry’s two run home run, her second home run of the game in the bottom of the inning extended SFA’s lead to 11-8.
McNeese made things interesting in the top of the seventh with two outs. Pinch hitter Taylor Edwards, McClain and Piancastelli all drew walks to load the bases with Catron to the plate. The Cowgirls weren’t able to get the hit they need as Catron went down looking to end the game.
The Cowgirls picked up 10 hits in and was led by two apiece from McClain, Piancastelli, Catron and Brown. Piancastelli had four RBI that came from her home run and one double.
McNeese used all four pitchers in the game with starter Ashley Koncir taking the loss to fall to 5-2 on the season. Koncir gave up four earned runs on five hits while striking out one. First reliever Amber Coons faced three batters and gave up three earned runs on one hit, a three run home run by Selman in the fourth. Settle gave up three earned runs on five hits while Flores ended the game in the circle, giving up one earned run on two hits.
Landry did the most damage at the plate for the Ladyjacks, going 4-for-4 with one home run, two doubles and four RBI. Selman was 2-for-3 with three RBI.
In the series finale, McNeese took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Chaumont led the inning off with a single through the right side then Brown singled to left before Tayler Strother’s double to left field score both runners.
McNeese added a run in the third on a two out RBI single up the middle by Aubree Turbeville that scored Chaumont from second for a 3-0 lead. Chaumont reached on a walk then moved into scoring position on a ground out by Brown.
SFA took advantage of two hit by pitches by Alexandra Flores and a three run home run by Fraccastoro in the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead.
McNeese had a chance to tie the game in the top of the seventh when Chaumont doubled through the right side with two outs but once again, McNeese couldn’t get the hit it needed to possibly tie the game.
Chaumont led the Cowgirls in the series finale by picking up half to the six McNeese hits. She was 3-for-3 with a double and scored two runs.
Flores took the loss to fall to 16-8 on the season. Flores gave up four earned runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout in the complete game.
SFA picked up five hits in the game and got one apiece from Novegli, Fraccastoro, Landry, and Katherine Thompson. Fraccastoro’s hit- a three run homer proved to be the winning hit.
Clarissa Hernandez picked up her second win of the season in relief of starter Autumn Anderson to improve to 2-1. Hernandez allowed one hit, walked two and struck out one in facing 10 batters. Makayla Sikes, Friday night’s losing pitcher picked up her fourth save after working two innings and allowing one hit, a walk and struck out one.
Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.