NATCHITOCHES— McNeese softball suffered its first Southland Conference Tournament loss since 2016 with a 4-3 setback at the hands of Northwestern State in the second round here Tuesday night.
McNeese will face the loser of the 9 a.m. Sam Houston State/Southeastern Louisiana game at 2 p.m. Wednesday in an elimination game.
Wednesday’s schedule has been altered and all game times have been moved up two hours due to anticipated rain in Natchitoches. Games will begin at 9 a.m.
The Cowgirls (28-29) defense got off to a rocky start, committing two errors in the second inning that aided in the first Northwestern State run but the Cowgirls came back and scored a run in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead.
Northwestern State (30-25) rallied to score a run in the third to tie the game a second time at two apiece.
After a scoreless fourth inning, a double by Kaylee Lopez gave McNeese a 3-2 lead and the Cowgirls missed a chance to add a few more runs when Lopez was stranded on third and Cori McCrary was left on second with two outs.
Cowgirl starter junior Alexsandra Flores, who had given up only four hits and two runs through the first five innings, struggled in the sixth. Flores gave up three hits and two runs in sixth that gave NW State the 4-3 lead. She was replaced by Caroline Settle who threw the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing only one hit and struck out one. Flores falls to 12-12 on the year with the loss.
McNeese entered the bottom of the seventh with the top of the order coming up. Justyce McClain laid down a good bunt but the throw beat her to the bag. Lopez, who was 2 for 4 grounded out to second for the second out and Aubree Turbeville struck out swinging to end the game.
The Cowgirls ended the game with seven hits and were led with two apiece from Lopez and McCrary.