The McNeese State softball team defeated LSU at Tiger Park during their 2014 season (Rick Hickman / American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:51 PMBaton Rouge — For this McNeese State softball team, beating Southeastern Conference opponents is hardly a surprise anymore.
McNeese notched its third victory against an SEC team this season and third ever against LSU as the Cowgirls knocked off the Tigers 2-1 on Wednesday night at Tiger Park.
The win, which was McNeese’s first against LSU since 2010, moved the Cowgirls to 3-25 all-time against the Tigers. McNeese (28-10) has also won seven consecutive games and 12 of its last 13.
“It feels great,” said McNeese designated player Marisa Taunton. “This team is something special. Pitching, defense, offense — we work so hard through and through. Something like that wouldn’t have been possible without the pitching performance Jamie (Allred) had.”
The game was a pitchers’ duel throughout, with freshman Baylee Corbello (11-6), a Sam Houston High product, in the circle for LSU (22-17) and Allred (17-5) tossing for McNeese.
“You’ve got a freshman and sophomore in the circle, that’s the future and present of LSU and McNeese for the next few years,” said McNeese coach Mike Smith. “There’s not a better pitched ballgame that you’re going to see in a long time.”
Allred nixed one of LSU’s chances to score as she struck out LSU’s A.J. Andrew’s with the bases loaded in the second inning.
LSU managed to get on the board in the third inning on a catcher’s interference call with the bases loaded that allowed a run to score.
McNeese escaped the inning otherwise unharmed thanks to a double play on a pop-up to right field and a throw to second base, where LSU’s Bianka Bell was too late getting back.
McNeese tied the score in the fifth inning as Corbello walked Lauren Langner with the bases loaded and two outs to make it 1-1.
After a few more frames of solid pitching from both sides, McNeese struck in the top of the seventh inning. Kim Kennedy started things with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a Lakeyn Fontenot sacrifice bunt. Marisa Taunton’s single to left-center field was enough to score Kennedy from second and give the Cowgirls a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.
For Taunton, all the mental training for a big, late-game situation at the plate paid off.
“The amount of work we put in preparing for moments like that, it just came naturally,” she said. “You can’t think about it too much. You have to stay calm and you have to stay within yourself in those moments just like you do as if it were the first inning with nobody on.”
Smith said the Cowgirls were patiently waiting for their moment to pounce.
“We never panicked,” he said. “We prepared for these moments. We believed that we could play on the same field. There was no panic in the dugout. Nobody was saying, ‘Come on, let’s go; we’ve got to get the big hit.’ It was, ‘Let’s get our base runners and let’s let things play out,’ and that’s exactly what happened.”