Ashley Modzelewski tags out Shalie Day as she attempts to score on a tag-up pop fly in the bottom of the third inning. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:17 AMTwo strong first innings from McNeese State helped the Cowgirls to win both ends of a doubleheader against Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday.
McNeese, playing its first home games of the season after 11 road games, took the first game 9-5 and won the second 8-0. The Cowgirls’ next 13 games will be on the road. They won’t return home until March 12, when they being a three-game Southland Conference series against Houston Baptist.
Though SFA is an SLC member, Wednesday’s games were played as nonconference games.
In the first game, Cowgirls pitcher Emily Vincent sat down the first three SFA batters in order, and McNeese (7-5) took advantage of chances to score four runs in the bottom of the first, highlighted by Ashley Modzelewski’s three-run bomb to center field.
“We got some big hits,” said McNeese coach Mike Smith. “That big three-run home run from Ashley in the first inning set the tone and we carried it on from there.”
Tori Yanitor knocked a two-RBI double and scored on a Victoria Rich single to make it 7-1 in the third.
SFA (3-7) tightened the score with a four-run sixth, but McNeese held on for a 9-5 win and Vincent (1-1) earned her first victory of the season.
“That’s a great home opener,” Smith said. “We had that one bad inning where we kind of lost focus and got complacent. It’s a teachable moment, though. Emily had a great ballgame.”
In the second game, Cowgirls pitcher Rachel Smith tossed a one-hitter as McNeese pounded the ball to win in six innings due to the mercy-run rule.
Smith celebrated her birthday with the first win of her college career. She started slow but worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first and didn’t give up a hit after the second inning.
“I was able to throw to my spots and the defense was able to back me up,” she said. “I’m not really a strikeout pitcher. I like to let my defense work for me. We have an awesome defense and they work hard every single day.”
The Cowgirls got on the board early again, scoring two runs in the first after leadoff hits from Alanna DiVittorio and Langner. DiVittorio and Vincent crossed the plate on SFA errors.
A solo shot over the left-field wall from DiVittorio sparked a three-run fifth inning and the Cowgirls added another three in the sixth.
McNeese hits the road this weekend at the Alabama Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa, where they will face Central Florida, Virginia Tech and Alabama.
“It’s nice being able to wear the pinstripes and being at home in our confines, but now it’s back on the road,” Mike Smith said. “We’re the road warriors once again and we’ll keep doing that until we’re back home.”