Cowgirls split twinbill

McNeese State reliever Caroline Settle walks back to the pitcher’s circle as Nicholls State celebrates one of the its five home runs in the first game of a Southland Conference doubleheader Friday at Cowgirl Diamond.

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The McNeese State softball team split a doubleheader with Nicholls State on Friday as it lost the first game 10-2 in five innings before turning around to win the second game 14-5 in five innings.

The first-place Colonels (27-12, 12-5 Southland Conference) came to Cowgirl Diamond with their bats locked and loaded as they hit eight home runs on the night, five of which contributed to their Game 1 victory over the third-place Cowgirls.

“I don’t think you can get used to that,” said McNeese coach James Landreneau. “I don’t think any of us expect that. It was just one of those days where they were putting good swings on it and the ball was really jumping out there.”

After two home runs gave the Colonels a 3-0 lead in the second game, McNeese (29-15, 11-6) took control for the first time with a four-run third inning.

Justyce McClain got things started with an RBI single that scored Carleigh Chaumont. Two batters later, Morgan Catron doubled to score McClain, and that was followed by an RBI single by Alexandria Saldivar that tied the score at threes runs apiece.

Pinch runner Taylor Edwards stole second and got all the way around after Nicholls catcher Moriah Strother’s throw made it all the way to the center-field wall to make it 4-3.

Nicholls tied the score in the top of the fourth inning as Strother hit the Colonels’ eighth home run of the night, but the Cowgirls rallied to score 10 two-out runs in the fifth inning to run away with the game.

Highlights in the rally included two-run home run by Brenique Wright and a two-RBI single by McClain that put the Cowgirls up 14-4 going into the fifth inning.

“That’s the best feeling,” said McNeese left fielder Lauren Brown. “When your teammates and they’re all hype and you get to high-five them because they just got on base and we jump around, that’s the best feeling in the planet.”

The Cowgirls allowed a run in the fifth inning but limited the damage to that to secure the five-inning, run-rule victory.

Ashley Koncir (4-0, 4.02 ERA) earned the victory after giving up five runs on six hits.

Nicholls took the first game 10-2 in five innings thanks in large part to five home runs.

The first two came in the second inning off starting pitcher Alexsandra Flores (13-7, 2.66 ERA).

Flores came out of the game after letting two runners on. Caroline Settle replaced her, but she didn’t last long in the circle. She saw two batters, both of whom hit home runs that gave Nicholls a 6-0 lead after three innings.

The Cowgirls got on the board with a couple runs in the fourth inning, but the Colonels struck back with a four-run fifth inning thanks to a three-run home run by Samantha Dares for a 10-2 lead and put the run-rule in effect.

Catron led off the inning with a leadoff walk, but Saldivar and Brown both struck out and Wright grounded out to second base to end the game.

The teams will return to Cowgirl Diamond for Game 3 at noon today for the rubber match that will decide the pivotal series.

“We have to do a good job of playing within ourselves and not doing to much,” Landreneau said. “We know it’s going to be a competitive game, they’re going to swing the bats well and they’re going to have good pitching. We need to worry about us and our game plan.”

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