Ortiz’s first collegiate homerun gives Cowgirls 5-3 win over UCA, helps clinch SLC Series

Ortiz’s first collegiate homerun gives Cowgirls 5-3 win over UCA, helps clinch SLC Series
McNeese Softball continue week with games against ranked opponents (Source: KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - McNeese freshman Aaliyah Ortiz couldn’t have picked a better time to hit her first collegiate homerun here Saturday in the second game of a Southland Conference doubleheader to help the Cowgirls pick up the 5-3 win and a 2-1 series win over Central Arkansas. McNeese defeated UCA 1-0 Friday night and the Bears picked up a 5-4 win in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

With McNeese (13-10, 2-1 SLC) trailing 3-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth inning, another freshman, catcher Chloe Gomez came up with a clutch single up the middle to score two runs to cut the UCA lead to 3-2. Pinch hitter Taniece Tyson drew a leadoff walk then the Cowgirls picked up three straight hits, a double to left by Alayis Seneca, a two RBI single up the middle by Chloe Gomez that scored Caleigh Cross and Seneca to bring McNeese to within one.

Gomez got into scoring position off a wild pitch before Ortiz hit her homerun over the left field wall after fighting off a few pitches to give McNeese a 4-3 lead.

Reliever Whitney Tate (3-5) who replaced starter Jenna Edwards in the top of the fifth with one out and the tying run on first, retired all eight batters she faced. Tate allowed one ball to leave the infield, that being a fly out to right field by Jaylee Engelkes in the sixth inning.

McNeese added another run in the sixth when Gomez came through again with another single up the middle to score Cross for the 5-3 lead. Tate got the first two batters to ground out in the bottom of the seventh before striking out Jenna Wildeman to end the game.Tate improved to 3-5 on the year after throwing 2 2/3 of no-hit shutout innings with two strikeouts.

McNeese outhit the Bears 10-6 and was led at the plate with two hits apiece by  Cori McCrary and Gomez. Gomez accounted for three of the five Cowgirl RBI’s.UCA (13-9, 1-2 SLC) trailed 1-0 after the first inning in the opening game following an Ortiz sacrifice fly that gave McNeese a 1-0 lead.

Cowgirl starter Saleen Flores came out of the dugout in the second inning and struggled, throwing seven straight balls, walking the first two UCA batters of the inning before giving up a two out double to left field that gave UCA a 2-1 lead. A two RBI home run by Engelkes in the fourth put the Bears up 4-1.

McNeese chipped away at the lead and got within one run (4-3) in the fifth inning on a two RBI home run by McCrary then the following inning Toni Perrin’s two out single scored pinch runner Jil Poullard to tie the game at four apiece. UCA took advantage of a Cowgirl error in the seventh when Wildeman reach base on an error with one out. She stole second then came around to score on a double to right by Mary Kate Brown to retake the lead.

McNeese got the tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh when McCrary reached on a throwing error by UCA’s third baseman with one out but McCrary was later thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice ground for the second out. UCA’s reliever Kayla Beaver struck out Gomez to end the game.

McNeese picked up four hits in the game with Kaylee Lopez picking up the only extra base hit for the Cowgirls with a double in the first inning.

Beaver improved to 6-3 on the year with the win in relief of Jordan Johnson who retired 12 of the first 15 batters she faced. Despite not getting the decision, Johnson ended the game giving up four runs on three hits, four strikeouts and walked four. Beaver faced six batters, giving up one hit and struck out two.

Freshman Ashley Vallejo took the loss after giving up four hits, four runs (three earned), five walks and two strikeouts in 6.0 innings after relieving starter Saleen Flores. Flores gave up one hit, one earned run, one walk and one strikeout in one inning.

McNeese will remain home to hots nationally ranked Texas next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and Texas A&M next Thursday at 6:30 p.m. before returning to conference action at Sam Houston next weekend.

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