BATON ROUGE— McNeese softball bounced back from its season-opening loss to No. 5 LSU on Thursday with two wins (9-6 and 6-5) over Kansas Friday on the second day of the LSU Tiger Classic. The wins improve the Cowgirls to 2-1 on the year.
In the opening game, the Cowgirls came back from a 4-0 deficit in the second inning after giving up three hits. McNeese, playing as the visiting team, cut the lead in half with two runs in the third inning on a two-RBI single through the left side by Caylon Brabham.
McNeese put up four runs in the fourth inning to take a 6-4 lead. Kaylee Lopez led the inning off with a single to second base. Following a flyout by Tayler Strother, McNeese put together three consecutive hits starting with a single through the left side by Padyn Williams. Chloe Gomez picked up her first collegiate hit with a two-RBI double to left center that scored pinch-runner Alayis Seneca and Williams. Haylee Brinlee’s two-out single up the middle plated Jil Poullard and Gomez.
The Cowgirls added a single run in the sixth for a 7-4 on an RBI single to short by Cori McCrary that scored Gomez who reached base on a single to right centerfield.
Two more runs by Taniece Tyson’s first career home run in the top of the seventh extended the lead to 9-4.
Kansas would make the game interesting in the bottom of the seventh with a two-out grand slam by Shelby Gayre to bring the Jayhawks to within one run (9-8) but graduate transfer Jenna Edwards replace starter Saleen Flores and got Tarin Travieso to line out to second base to end the game.
McNeese ended the game with 11 hits including a double and a home run. Flores (1-0) picked up her first win of the season, going 6 2/3 innings with one strikeout and seven hits allowed. Edwards picked up her first save of the season.
In the second game of the doubleheader, McNeese served as the home team, took the early lead on a two-out three-run home run to right field by senior Cori McCrary. Lopez and Brinlee both drew walks before McCrary belted her first long ball of the season.
Kansas tied the game at three apiece with two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. McNeese answered with single runs in the fifth and sixth to regain the lead 5-3.
It was McCrary who came through again with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Poullard for a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth. One inning later, Brabham led the inning off with a solo home run to right field for a 5-3 Cowgirl lead.
Kansas tied the game again at five-all in the top of the seventh with two runs on a two-RBI homer by Travieso.
For the third time in the game, McCrary came through for the Cowgirls, this time it was a one-out walk-off home run to right field to end the game and a 6-5 Cowgirls win.
McCrary ended the game going 2-for-3 with five RBI and scored two runs. Both of her hits resulted in home runs. Brabham also had a home run in the game.
Edwards, who picked up her first save of the season in the first game, picked up her first win of the season in relief of starter Ashley Vallejo. Edwards pitched the final two innings, allowing two runs on two hits with two strikeouts.
Vallejo gave up four hits in five innings and struck out six batters.
On the day, Lopez hit .667 with two hits while McCrary hit .500 with three hits, two home runs, and six RBI. Brabham hit .286 with two hits, one home run and three RBI.
In the circle, Edwards and Flores went 1-0. Edwards also picked up a save while Vallejo recorded six strikeouts.
McNeese will conclude tournament play Saturday with a 10 a.m. game against Duke.