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Whitney Tate threw a two-hitter and the McNeese State softball team beat Northwestern State 3-0 Friday to clinch a Southland Conference Tournament berth.

The Demons won the nightcap 3-2. The series finale begins at 1 p.m. today.

Haylee Brinlee of Rosepine provided all the offense Tate (9-7), who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, would need, opening the second inning with a solo home run, her eighth of the season, tying Cori McCary for the team lead.

Brinlee drove in her second run of the game with an RBI double down the left-field line in the fourth inning.

Kaylee Lopez singled up the middle in the fifth inning to score Jil Poullard, who was 2-for-3 for McNeese (27-23, 15-8 SLC), which has won nine of its last 11 games.

E.C. Delafield broke up the no-hit bid in the seventh. Cayla Jones had the second Demons (20-18, 14-9) hit.

Jensen Howell (6-9) took the loss, giving up three runs with four strikeouts.

It was the third consecutive loss for the Demons.

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