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Saturday, December 20, 2014
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McNeese State's Marisa Taunton slides into second safely as Central Arkansas' Sarah Bigej makes the catch in the fourth inning Sunday. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

McNeese State's Marisa Taunton slides into second safely as Central Arkansas' Sarah Bigej makes the catch in the fourth inning Sunday. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Fast start lifts Cowgirls past Central Arkansas

Last Modified: Monday, April 07, 2014 1:28 PM

By Chris LeBlanc / Special to the American Press

While playing a game of beat the rain all weekend, the McNeese softball team beat on Central Arkansas as well.

Behind the pitching of ace Jamie Allred and a four-run first, the Cowgirls completed a weekend sweep of Southland Conference foe UCA Sunday afternoon.

The 5-1 victory was the sixth in a row for surging McNeese, which entered last week ranked 29th in the country. The Cowgirls have won 12 out of their last 13 and haven’t lost two straight since Feb. 21.

Since then McNeese has posted a 19-3 record.

Sunday’s win gave the Cowgirls a 27-10 mark overall, 11-3 in the Southland.

“We aren’t looking at the standings right now, our destiny is in our own hands,” said head coach Mike Smith. “We need to take care of our business both at home and on the road. It was good to be at home this weekend but now we go back on the road. We have been road warriors all year long.”

The Cowgirls chased UCA starter Kelsie Barker in the first inning. Sophomore Emily Vincent’s triple was the big blow, scoring a pair of runs before Barker could get her second out.

Taylor Goree’s bunt scored Vincent and Kim Kennedy’s triple drove in Katie Roux.

“Our offense gave us the lead and it’s always easier to pitch when you have a four-run lead,” said Smith.

In the second Ashley Modzelewski’s single scored Lauren Langner, who had tripled before her.

Allred struggled with control at times, hitting two batters and walking two more, but the sophomore right-hander took advantage of a strong defensive performance by the Cowgirls, only allowing four hits on the afternoon. With the win Allred moves to 16-5 on the season. Barker’s record falls to 2-1 with the loss.

UCA (17-25, 7-7) scored its lone run in the fourth on a solo homer by Jessie Taylor. But by then the outcome had already been decided.

This series provided some reprieve for a road-weary McNeese team. The Cowgirls have touched home dirt only seven times in the season’s first 34 games.

Smith was happy to be home, but appreciates the experience of having a road-tested team.

“When we do get into the postseason, we’re going to have to play on the road,” said Smith. “If we make it to a regional, we’re going to be on the road. So those 34 games are going to come in handy for us down the road.”

McNeese will be on the road Wednesday when it travels to LSU.

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