Cowgirls get series victory

By By Albert Burford / American Press

As far as the records are concerned, a win is a win.

As far as McNeese State softball coach Mike Smith is concerned, not all wins are created equal.

The Cowgirls split a Saturday doubleheader against Nicholls State at Cowgirl Diamond, with a 5-4 loss followed by a 3-0 win

to clinch the series.

The series victory helped McNeese maintain its spot atop the Southland Conference standings, but Smith said the weekend was a case of the Cowgirls doing “just enough to win.”

McNeese appeared to be in cruise control for the second game of the day, winning behind an efficient performance in the circle

from Jamie Allred.

Marisa Taunton scored Ashley Modzelewski and Kim Kennedy on a two-run single two get the scoring going and Lauren Langner’s

RBI double sent Taunton home to make it 3-0 in the second inning and the Cowgirls never looked back.

Taunton said McNeese did well to recoup for the series-deciding win after a loss in the first game of the day.

“You have to refocus quickly because in

30 minutes you have to play again,” she said. “Whether it was good,

whether it was

bad, we do the same thing if we win or lose. It hurt a little bit

because we came out with more energy today, which is something

we’ve been working on, so it was kind of a punch in the mouth. We

did well and came back, though.”

McNeese also took a 3-0 lead after two innings in the first game of the day, but the Cowgirls’ pitching staff imploded during

the sixth inning as they used three pitchers and gave up four runs.

The Cowgirls allowed six walks, four of which scored.

“(Nicholls) did the things

they needed to do,” Smith said. “They took pitches. The umpire had a

tight zone. They got people on base, put the ball

in play; we didn’t make the plays and we walked in runs. It’s easy

when you don’t have to swing the bat and they score runs.”

Nicholls pitcher Hannah Haydel retired

13 of 14 McNeese batters from the third to seventh innings. Alanna

DiVittorio hit a

solo home run to pull the Cowgirls within one run in the bottom of

the seventh, but McNeese couldn’t complete the rally, falling

5-4.

Smith said the Cowgirls can’t allow inconsistent pitching and defensive mistakes to continue if they want to win when it counts.

“If we’re going to be successful past

the regular season, we’re going to have to do those things right,

otherwise we’re going

to be the team watching on TV or on the computer,” Smith said. “We

have all these grand goals and yet I feel like we’re trying

to do just enough and it’s not going to happen. It’s frustrating.”