Cowgirls earn their 3-peat

Published 9:49 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

With three games to play, the Cowgirls figured there was no reason to delay what is becoming the inevitable. 

McNeese State captured its third straight regular-season Southland Conference softball championship with a 3-0 victory Friday night over Southeastern at Joe Miller Field.

The win not only clinches the ninth such title in program history – the most of any Southland team – but also gives the Cowgirls the top seed in next week’s SLC Tournament in Hammond.

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“To get it done right away shows our focus,” said McNeese head coach James Landreneau. “We are not done but we are going to celebrate this tonight.”

The Cowgirls improved to 36-18, 20-2 while the Lady Lions (42-11, 17-5) earned the second seed. This was the first of the three titles won on home turf.

“It was great that we got to win it in front of our fans,” Landreneau said.

McNeese became the first team to win three straight SLC titles since Texas State did it in 2008-2010. It is the fourth regular season title for Landreneau in his eight years. He will be going for his sixth tourney title as well.

McNeese celebrated with a trophy presentation and a water drenching of Landreneau not once, not twice but three times, one for each consecutive title.

“They got me good,” said Landreneau.

A pair of seniors led the way for McNeese. Mariana Torres drove all three runs with a single and sacrifice fly, and Shaelyn Sanders did the rest from the pitching circle.

Sanders improved to 19-9 and made a case for herself as the league’s Pitcher of the Year by blanking the top-hitting Lions.

Sanders went the distance, allowing six hits without walking a batter. She struck out five and allowed two Lions on base in two innings.

“Always the goal is to not give people free passes to people,” said Sanders. “They are a tough lineup but you have to move the ball around.”

McNeese took control in the fourth, scoring twice to grab a 3-0 lead. Torres’ single to right drove in both Bella Perez and Rylie Bouvier. The Cowgirls grabbed the lead with a run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Torres that scored Bouvier. 

“I just choked up and tried to put the nose on the ball,” said Perez. “We knew what was at stake. We just wanted to stay focused.”

The two teams will finish the regular season today with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.