LAKE CHARLES— McNeese softball opened its 2020 season with two shutout victories here Friday on the first day of its Cowgirl Classic. The Cowgirls picked up an 11-0 five-inning run-rule win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff in its season opener then concluded day one with a 7-0 win over North Texas.
McNeese (2-0) will face Ball State at 3 p.m. and Prairie View at 5 p.m. Saturday. Saturday’s action will begin at 1 p.m. with Ball State taking on Prairie View.
“I thought we hit some balls hard early in the game but we didn’t have much to show for it. The girls did a good job of staying patient and letting the game come to them and figuring something out,” said head coach James Landreneau.
Against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, McNeese took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Haylee Brinlee for the first run of the game. The Cowgirls added two more runs in the third on a two-run home run by Brenique Wright to extend the lead to 3-0. McNeese blew the game opened by scoring eight runs on four hits in the fourth inning.
“Brenique came up and got the big home run and then we were able to get to them after that.”
Junior Ashley Koncir picked up her first win of the season as she went the distance and gave up two hits while striking out five.
"I thought Ashley did a great job with establishing the strike zone, stayed ahead in the count, and gave us a good chance to win.
In the nightcap against North Texas, the first 4 ½ innings was a pitchers duel between McNeese’s Alexsandra Flores and North Texas’ Hope Trautwein.
With the game scoreless and Trautwein with a no-hitter going, McNeese got on the board in the fifth inning by taking advantage of two Mean Green miscues and a passed ball that scored pinch-runner, Jil Poullard, for a 1-0 lead.
"We knew Hope was coming into the game with having success from last year and we were having trouble handling her. We started to get a little bit more patient late in the game and we were able to draw some walks and make some things happen. We had to makes things happen and today the short game won it for us."
McNeese (2-0) broke up the no-hitter in the sixth inning by collecting five hits and took advantage of four errors to extend the lead to 7-0.
As Trautwein was dealing her no-hitter, Flores was just as impressive for the Cowgirls. The senior from Lufkin, Texas threw a one-hitter coming off a single to left field by Camille Grahmann in the third inning.
"Flo just pounded the strike zone. She kept us ahead and got us in the dugout quick and kept having momentum on her side.
Flores was in command the entire game and allowed only one baserunner to reach second base the entire game. She ended the game with seven strikeouts and allowed two walks.
NOTES vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
•- Freshman Caleigh Cross and junior transfer Rebekah Dilavore earned their first starts as Cowgirls
•- McNeese picked up nine hits and was led by Caleigh Cross who had two
•- Senior Brenique Wright hit her first home run of the season, a two-run homer in the third inning
•- Rebekah Dilavore picked up the only other extra-base hit with a double in the second inning
•- Ashley Koncir picked up her first win of the season, allowing two hits and struck out five
•- McNeese picked up its first shutout of the season
NOTES vs. North Texas
•- McNeese picked up its second shutout of the season
•- The Cowgirls picked up five hits in the game
•- Alexsandra Flores picked up her first win of the season with a one-hitter. She also struck out seven and walked only two batters.
•- The Cowgirls didn't allow a baserunner passed second base
•- Four Cowgirls picked up one hit apiece