McNeese softball beats SLU, doubleheader set for Sunday

By By Alex Hickey / American Press

The way things have been going for the McNeese State softball team recently, it feels like only Mother Nature can slow the

Cowgirls down.

It did on Saturday afternoon, but not

before the Cowgirls knocked off Southeastern Louisiana 5-3 in the first

game of a scheduled

doubleheader at Cowgirl Diamond.

Game 2 was suspended by rain in the bottom of the first with the Lions holding a 1-0 lead, and will be resumed at 1 p.m. today.

McNeese had the bases loaded with one out when the umpires made the decision to stop the game.

The Game 1 win was McNeese’s 12th in a row.

“What’s nice is Game 1 was prototypical

of our first 20-something games,” said McNeese coach Mike Smith.

“That’s the reason

I play the schedule I do, to get us ready for those kind of games.

Now when it comes to crunch time, we’re battle-tested and

ready to go.”

McNeese (25-7, 6-0 Southland) owns a 2.5-game conference lead on the Lions (17-9, 4-3), their nearest pursuer.

Like any team on a hot streak, McNeese

got contributions from throughout the lineup. The biggest hit came from

an unexpected

spot as designated player Marissa Koetting socked a two-run homer

over the center-field wall to give the Cowgirls a 4-2 lead

in the fourth.

Koetting had been pulled from the starting lineup due to a sub-.200 batting average, but made Smith’s decision to play her

on Saturday pay off.

“We sat her because she’s struggling,

but she’s had a really good two weeks of practice,” Smith said. “We

haven’t found a

consistent DP since we moved Emily Vincent to first base. We saw

Marissa’s been swinging a good bat (in practice), so let’s

give her a shot.”

SLU cut the margin to 4-3 on Kelsey Nichols’ RBI triple in the fifth, but the Cowgirls added an insurance run without the

benefit of a hit in the sixth when Koetting scored from third on a fielding error by Lions shortstop Kayla Elswick.

“My gray hairs have come from a lot of (close) ballgames,” Smith said. “But it teaches us a little bit of character and finds

out what we’re made of. If we do make it to a regional, I’m sure we’ll get a lot of ballgames like that.”

Jamie Allred (12-2) earned the win for McNeese, allowing one earned run and striking out nine in six innings. Meagan Bond

picked up her second save with a 1-2-3 seventh.