McNeese softball ends weekend strong

Published 5:28 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

A weekend that began slowly ended with a bang for the Cowgirls.

After playing a little sloppy in the season opener Thursday night during a loss to Cal, the McNeese State softball team rebounded to show what is possible this season over the following three days.

Rolling through its own Cowgirl Classic, McNeese won four games to open the new campaign 4-1.

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The Cowgirls ended the event Sunday with a 5-1 victory over Tarleton State, the second time in as many days they knocked off the Texans. The first three games of the Classic, one on Friday and two on Saturday, all ended with McNeese wins shortened by the mercy rule as the bats came alive.

“A good start but it is a marathon, a long journey,” said McNeese head coach James Landreneau. “We have some things we have to clean up.

“What I like is we can put stress on the defense all through our lineup.”

McNeese outscored its opponents 38-8 in the Classic and has already hit six home runs over the first five games. Sophomore Cornie Poncho hit four of those.

Poncho ended the scoring on Sunday when she blasted a long home run over the fence in left that landed on the soccer field behind Cowgirl Diamond. She is hitting .500 in the early going and has five runs batted in.

“I’m just looking for a pitch to hit,” said Poncho, who also homered in her first at-bat of the season.

Emily Phillips is also hitting .500 in the early going, but it is true freshman Samantha Mundine who had the biggest hit against Tarleton.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the first, Mundine blasted a shot off the base of the wall in left-center, scoring all three runners. That was all the runs McNeese would need.

Mundine is hitting .600 and now leads the Cowgirls with six RBIs.

“Mundine came in and put a good swing on the ball and that was a big hit,” said Landreneau. “We are just trying to find a quality pitch and put a strong swing on it. Power comes and goes.”

Lindsay Davis, who took the loss in the opener, bounced back to even her record at 1-1 with 4⅓ innings of three-hit pitching. She did walk four and struck out only one but was able to work out of trouble when needed.

Ryann Schexnayder worked the last 2⅔ allowing just two hits and no runs.

The competition will get tougher starting this Thursday when No. 22 Baylor comes to Cowgirl Diamond for a 6 p.m. game. On Friday McNeese will welcome No. 1 Oklahoma to town for the Cowgirls Challenge.

“We are excited to play them but we know we have to play well,” said Poncho.