Cowgirls survive, play again

Published 10:23 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

In a season filled with adversity, the Cowgirls faced the ultimate trouble.

Not nine hours after starting their quest for a record fourth-straight Southland Conference Tournament championship, the top seed from McNeese State was playing for its season.

This is different from the way the Cowgirls had written things up.

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Having been shocked into the losers bracket earlier Wednesday, McNeese was down by a run to No. 7-seeded Houston Christian early in the day’s late game.

But the Cowgirls (39-19) recovered in time to stave off elimination at least for one day with an 8-6 victory over HCU at North Oaks Park in Hammond.

It was the first time in five years McNeese faced elimination in the tournament. The Cowgirls had come to Hammond having won 10 straight tourney games and as the prohibitive favorite to earn their fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.

That was all on the line as they trailed 5-4 after Maddy Bailey hit a grand slam in the bottom of the third HCU. Bailey finished 3-for-3 and drove in five runs, but was left in the on-deck circle with a runner on base at the game’s end.

Ryann Schexnayder allowed just one run over the final 4⅔ innings to pick up the victory in relief. The lefty improved to 9-2 on the season.

Marinara Torres and Reese Reyna, the last two SLC Tournament MVPs, led the way for McNeese. They combined to go 3-for-5 with Reyna driving in three runs. 

McNeese will now play No. 3 Nicholls in Thursday’s second game at 3:30. The winner of that will play again right after.

McNeese went 2-1 this season against the Colonels.