McNeese State's Melissa Arriaga makes contact in the bottom of the fifth inning in the opening game of a doubleheader against Central Arkansas Saturday at Cowgirl Diamond. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, April 07, 2014 12:00 PMMcNeese State came away from Saturday with two wins in a doubleheader against Central Arkansas, but aside from the result, not much was similar about the games.
The first game was a 4-0 shutout featuring a stifling pitching performance from Jamie Allred, who held a perfect game into the fifth inning and allowed one hit. The second game, a 4-1 victory, featured rocky pitching performances from the Cowgirls (26-10, 10-3 Southland Conference).
Rachel Smith, who started the second game, was shaky from the start, giving up a walk and a hit in the first inning. She pitched three innings, giving up one hit and one run, hitting three batters and walking two, before Emily Vincent came on in relief. Vincent also had trouble in the circle, allowing two hits and a run while walking two batters in two innings of work.
“Game 2, we didn’t get ahead of hitters,” said McNeese coach Mike Smith. “Between walks and hit batters, I think we gave them six free passes. That’s six base hits. That changes the whole complexion of the ballgame, especially when you’ve got a one or two-run ballgame.
“Our pitchers are dominant when they pitch ahead. When they pitch behind, they have to leave the ball out over the plate because we can’t continue to walk people, and that’s when you get hurt.”
Fortunately for McNeese, a couple catches on the run by left fielder Lauren Langner and solid defense from Taylor Goree at shortstop combined with consistent hitting kept the Cowgirls in the lead for most of the game.
McNeese held a 4-1 advantage heading into the sixth inning, but Vincent allowed a walk and a hit to put runners on first and second with no outs before Allred came in to close. Allred allowed one run but stopped any hopes of a Central Arkansas (17-24, 7-6) rally as she recorded her second save.
“We really, really work together as a staff and there’s been a million times where they’ve picked me up at the end of the game, so I’m happy to pick them up,” Allred said.
Smith said pitching ahead has been a big point of focus.
“Our pitchers have done a really good job, there’s just some games,” he said. “One of these days it may come back to bite us in the butt. That’s a good team. They got a bloop single, a walk, a ball off the glove and they’re one swing of the bat away from taking the lead there.”
The first game lacked any of the tumultuous pitching of the second contest. Allred gave up the lone Central Arkansas hit on a blooper to shallow left field in the sixth inning.
“As usual, we’re just pounding the zone, working on going after hitters and trust that my defense will catch anything they hit,” Allred said.
McNeese started off strong at the plate, scoring two runs in the first thanks to an RBI single off the bat of Ashley Modzelewski and a fielder’s choice that sent Langner around to score.
Katie Roux added insurance with a solo home run in the fourth inning and Vincent capped the scoring in the fifth with an RBI single.