Cowgirls sweep past Huskies

Published 6:52 pm Saturday, April 20, 2024

With a little help from some new friends, the Cowgirls took a giant step toward their third straight Southland Conference regular season title Saturday afternoon.

Sweeping Houston Christian was a big part of that, but so was Nicholls’ surprise victory over second-place Southeastern.

In the span of 24 hours, the Cowgirls went from a half-game up on the Lions in the race for the title to three games ahead with six remaining.

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“I’m gonna worry about playing clean,” said McNeese State head coach James Landreneau. “I worry about playing a clean game, getting outs, and getting runners in.”

The Cowgirls did enough of that Saturday, winning Game 1 6-3 and then outlasting the Huskies 5-4 in nine innings in the rain in Game 2.

Their twin victories gave McNeese 10 straight wins overall and 16 in a row in league play. The Cowgirls have won 18 of 20 and improved to 33-15 and 18-1 in the SLC. 

HCU fell to 17-24, 4-14.

“We train for playing in these moments,” said Landreneau. “We trained to play in the rain.”

The winning run scored when Reese Reyna was hit on a 3-0 pitch with one out and the bases loaded. McNeese scored the winning run with the only hit being a leadoff infield single by freshman Alexis Dibbley. 

Two walks and a sacrifice bunt later and Reyna was up in the winning situation for the victory.

Dibbley had a huge day. She hit a two-run homer in the first in the opener, putting McNeese up 2-1 early. It was her fifth of the season. 

She finished the game 3-for-3 with three runs batted in. 

As if that was not enough, Dibbley improved to 4-1 as a pitcher by starting and going four innings. She did allow three runs, two earned, on three hits but it was enough. 

Ryann Schexnayder followed with two innings of one-hit work and Shaelyn Sanders picked up her second save of the season with a perfect seventh.

In the second game, she had two more hits. For the weekend Dibbley finished 7-for-10 to raise her batting average to team-high .368.

Sanders was just as impressive. She entered the game with two runners on and the Cowgirls down 4-3 in the third inning of the second game. 

She got out of that jam and finished going 6⅔ innings, allowing just three hits and striking out eight to earn the win and improve to 16-7.

“It feels good to go in and back up my people,” said Sanders. “My mindset is to come in and get outs no matter if I start or am in relief.”

Sanders, a senior right-hander who has become the Cowgirl ace, finished the weekend 2-0 with a save, going 14⅔  innings of shutout ball. She struck out 15 and allowed just eight hits and walked only one.

“Every time we get backed into a corner we come back punching,” said Landreneau. “When we get punched I feel we always respond.”
McNeese will be back home Wednesday night against rival Louisiana-Lafayette before heading to Corpus Christy, Texas next weekend for three more Southland games.