Cowgirls back in SLC title game, overcome six-run deficit, win in extra innings

Published 8:40 am Friday, May 13, 2022

Special to the American Press

HAMMOND — For a second consecutive game, freshman Crislyne Moreno delivered a walk-off hit and defending champion and top seed McNeese State came from six runs down to beat No. 2 Southeastern Louisiana 7-6 in eight innings Thursday to earn a return trip to the Southland Conference Tournament title game.

The Cowgirls won their tournament opener on Wednesday with a 6-5 eight-inning victory over Northwestern State on a Moreno RBI single.

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The Cowgirls (37-19), who extended their winning streak to six, will play at noon today against an opponent to be determined late Thursday night.

McNeese’s Kendall Talley, who scored the winning run after leading off the eighth with a double, had three hits — two doubles and a triple — and scored three runs. Moreno had a double among her three hits. Chloe Gomez and Reese Reyna had two hits apiece. Josie Willingham had a solo home run in the fourth inning, her first of the season.

The Cowgirls scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings on a two-run single by pinch-hitter Adriana Ramirez with one out.

The Lions (39-15) jumped on Cowgirls starter Ashley Vallejo, the SLC Pitcher of the Year, for five runs on three hits as the Lions batted around for a 6-0 first-inning lead.

Vallejo failed to record an out and was replaced by Whitney Tate (12-9), who scattered seven hits over the eight innings, allowing one run with three strikeouts.

Cam Goodman, Bailey Krolczyk and Lexi Johnson had two hits apiece for the Lions. Aerial Mass, who played at Barbe High, was 1-for-3 with a first-inning double, a day after she went 4-for-4 against Houston Baptist. Goodman had an RBI triple.

Heather Zumo (20-5) went the distance for the Lions, getting peppered for 13 hits. She allowed seven runs — five earned — with four strikeouts and three walks.

The Lions played an elimination game later in the night against Houston Baptist.

The Cowgirls, who have won six of the last seven regular-season titles, have won a conference-record seven tournament championships, including four of the last five.