Cowgirls go for milestone win

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024


While this may not be the smoothest of seasons for the Cowgirls, it is right on target for their head coach.

In all but one of his seven previous years as the skipper of McNeese State’s softball program, James Landreneau has won at least 30 games. The only time he fell short may have also been when he had his best team, ironically.

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In 2020 Landreneau’s club started strong and was 19-7 when the season was shut down due to COVID. Other than that, his Cowgirls have never won less than 33 games.

Four times, including the last two, they have won at least 40. That includes a record program-record 47 last season. 

Despite some early struggles and a bevy of injuries, this edition of the Cowgirls is again closing in on that 30-win milestone.

McNeese will host former Southland Conference rival Sam Houston State tonight with a chance to hit that mark. The first pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Cowgirl Diamond.

Riding a six-game winning streak, McNeese enters Tuesday’s contest at 29-15 as it takes a break from the conference race. The Cowgirls are on top of the league at 14-1, holding a one-game lead over Southeastern.

They also hold an 18-7 record at home. The Bearkats are 17-25 but just 3-13 on the road after winning at Houston Christian 3-0 Tuesday night.

“I have never paid attention to 30 wins,” said Landreneau. “Our sites are set on winning championships.”

The Cowgirls have followed the lead of their head coach.

“I didn’t even know we were close to winning 30 games,” said junior infielder Rylie Bouvier. “We try to focus every day to get better.”

McNeese has done just that. After struggling through a period where they lost six straight and eight of 11, the Cowgirls have responded.

They have won 14 of their last 16 with the only two losses at No. 18 Florida State.

“Our team has fight,” said Bouvier. “We have worked through adversity this year just like in the past.”

That has become a tradition at McNeese, playing better at the end of seasons after taking on some of the better programs in the nation early.

“The people of the past have left that culture for us,” said Bouvier. “We just keep working at getting better and battling to win games.”

Bouvier herself fought through a tough start and is now one of five starters who is hitting over .300. Her .317 average is accompanied by three homers, 22 runs scored and another 24 driven in.

“The whole team went through a tough stretch offensively,” said Landreneau. “We were really pressing, trying to do too much. 

“That opened up some good conversations. We still are a long way from being done, but I like how we have rebounded.”

With 12 games left in the regular season, McNeese’s hopes of winning 40 games for the third straight season will likely depend on how long the Cowgirls make a postseason run. 

“We want to be a program that wins 40 games a year,” said Landreneau. “To do that, you have to overcome a lot of adversity.”

The Cowgirls are working to do that every day.