McNeese Softball beats LSU for the first time since 2014

Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 11:44 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It had been 3,296 days since McNeese softball last beat LSU on April 9th, 2014, and it had been even longer, 5,109 days since the Cowgirls beat the Tigers at home. On Tuesday night McNeese had the opportunity to reset both of those numbers to zero.

Early on, it didn’t look great for the Cowgirls, LSU plated three in the first inning thanks to RBIs by Karli Petty, Raeleen Gutierrez, and Taylor Pleasants, as it appeared LSU was on their way to their 14th consecutive win over the Cowgirls, and their second in 2023, but then the tides began to shift.

In the third inning Emily Phillips hit her second home run of the season, a two-run blast to left field that brought Brooke Otto in with her, as McNeese began to cut into LSU’s lead, and then later on in the inning, an LSU error in right field allowed Alayis Seneca to score, as McNeese tied it up at three a piece.

McNeese looked as if they were going to strike in the fifth inning as they loaded the bases with no outs, but they were unable to take their first lead of the night as a play at the plate, strikeout, and an infield pop out kept the game knotted at three heading into the final two innings of play.

In the sixth inning, with Chloe Gomez on second, Brooke Otto hit a dribbler to shortstop which LSU threw to third trying to beat Gomez, and initially, the call on the field was that Gomez was out at third, but upon review following a challenge from McNeese head coach James Landreneau, the call was overturned. After that, Gomez scored thanks to an LSU passed ball, and with it, the Cowgirls took their first lead of the ballgame heading into the seventh, and final inning of play.

In the seventh Ashley Vallejo finished what she started as she got a ground out, and two flyouts to end the game, giving McNeese their first win over LSU in nine years, and their first home win over the Tigers in 14 years.

Following the game head coach James Landreneau was happy for his team to have gotten the win in front of a record crowd at Cowgirl Diamond: “I’m happy our team played well, and that’s what we haven’t done, they’ve (LSU) always played really well, and I felt like we always made a couple of mistakes that took us out of the game, and today after the first inning just settling in, and you know look, every game matters to us and every team matters, and we respect the heck out of LSU, but for our kids to win the way they did, and look, let’s just be honest, to be able to do it in front of your home crowd, and people show up and they get to see a good softball game, hopefully, it builds some momentum for the future going into the rest of the season, and hopefully our fanbase continues to be supportive like they were tonight.”

1,448 fans were in attendance on Tuesday night for McNeese’s historic win over the Tigers, 160 more than the previous record attendance of 1,288.

“The community is just unbelievable here, the city of Lake Charles, they’re always there for us, and it really gave us the motivation going into the game,” said catcher Emily Phillips.

“It means a lot, I mean to have the community out here, and everybody show up, we had the largest crowd ever, I mean, we like to show out when they show up,” said pitcher Ashley Vallejo.

Phillips and Vallejo were huge for McNeese on Tuesday night, Vallejo pitched a complete game, and following the four-hit, three-run first inning, she was able to settle in, and gave up just four more hits, and zero runs the remainder of the game. “Yeah in the first inning I was trying to be too picky with my pitches, I was trying to throw it to one spot, instead of just throwing my best stuff, and trusting the defense behind me, and after that I just attacked the strike zone and let them take care of it,” said Vallejo.

Phillips was responsible for McNeese’s only two earned runs of the game, as she hit a two-run home run to left field, her second home run of the season. “It was a great feeling you know, I just wanted to get something through the middle of the field for my pitcher, and it was a great feeling to just get us back into the ballgame,” said Phillips.

For the full interviews with Landreneau, Vallejo, and Phillips, click here.