LAKE CHARLES, La. - LAKE CHARLES- McNeese softball was two outs away from picking up a significant win over 10th ranked Texas Tuesday night but the Longhorns rallied for four runs in the seventh to leave Joe Miller Field at Cowgirl Diamond with a 5-2 comeback win.
“Somewhere along the line as a team we have to play seven complete innings,” said head coach James Landreneau. “We have yet to play seven complete innings against quality caliber teams like Texas and if you don’t, they will make you pay for it. We have to do a better job of learning how to finish games.”
McNeese (10-14) took an early 2-0 lead in the third inning when Caleigh Cross scored on an RBI grounder by Chloe Gomez for a 1-0 lead. Cori McCrary put the Cowgirls up 2-0 when she scored on an error.
Cowgirl starter Jenna Edwards did her part in keeping the Longhorns off balance for the time she was in the game. Edwards gave up one run on five hits while striking out three.
Texas (16-2) cut the Cowgirl lead in half by scoring a run in the fourth inning on a Lauren Burke RBI single to left for a 2-1 Cowgirl lead.
The Cowgirls held off a Texas lineup that consists of several All-Americans and three players named to the USA Softball National Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List including Tuesday’s starter Shealyn O’Leary who gave up two runs on five hits in 4.0 innings.
“We faced All-American after All-American tonight and if you keep giving them opportunities, they will make you pay for it.”
Texas’ bats came alive in the seventh inning to score four runs on six hits to take a 5-2 lead. Cowgirl first reliever Saleen Flores got Texas’s leadoff batter Taylor Ellsworth the ground out to short for the first out then walked McKenzie Parker before pinch hitter Kaitlyn Washington started a string of six hits. After Washington’s single, Landreneau made another pitching change that brought Whitney Tate in the circle. Tate never got on track and gave up five consecutive hits and two runs before Landreneau brought back Cowgirl starter Edwards to get the final Texas out.
Texas’ Molly Jacobsen got the first two outs in the bottom of the seventh before McCrary doubled to through the left side. Gomez then grounded out to Jacobsen to end the game.
“This loss is gut-wrenching, we played hard and they are trying to figure it out. It has happened so many times this year, you just want to finish it. When you play this kind of team, and you are so close to finishing, we have to grow up a little bit. We had a couple of opportunities in the where we could have added on some runs and we didn’t get the job done.”
McNeese left runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, sixth, and seventh innings. Toni Perrin was stranded on third with no outs in the fourth inning after a single to right. Perrin stole second and went to third on a throwing error but never made it home to score. Perrin was also stranded on second in the sixth inning and McCrary was stranded on second in the seventh.
The Cowgirls picked up seven hits with Perrin going 3 for 3 and McCrary picked up two hits including a double.
Texas ended the game with 13 hits and was led by Janae Jefferson’s three hits.
McNeese will remain home to host Texas A&M Thursday. The first pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.