Cowgirls sweep Islanders

McNeese State’s Alexandria Saldivar rounds third base after hitting a walk-off home run in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press

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McNeese State swept a Southland Conference doubleheader from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 5-3 and 9-0 Friday at Cowgirl Diamond.

In the opener, pinch-hitter Alexandria Saldivar blasted a two-run walk-off home run in the seventh inning. The Cowgirls completed the sweep behind Ashley Koncir’s one-hit shutout.

Saldivar’s homer scored Taylor Edwards, who led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Aubree Tuberville.

“I just had a clear mind and was looking for a pitch that I could drive in a run,” Saldivar said.

“Saldivar thrives in those situations and has been having sine really good rounds of batting practice,” said Cowgirls head coach James Landreneau. “The last few games she has been swinging the bat well. We were looking for the right opportunity.”

The sweep gave the Cowgirls (26-13, 9-5 SLC) four consecutive series wins in conference play. They go for the series sweep at 1 p.m. today.

“The thing about this team is that it is a work in progress,” Landreneau said. “I think we have our best softball out in front of us right now. We are very fortunate to come around with some wins, but we have to make sure we stay focused and, until the end of the year, we keep improving week in and week out.”

Edwards drove in the first two Cowgirls runs with a bases-loaded single down the right-field line in the bottom of the first inning.

AMCC tied the score with solo home runs by Kandace Johnson and Avery Ratcliff. The Islanders took a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning when

Destiny Diaz reached on an error. Pinch-runner Taelor Thomas stole second and scored on an infield single by Katrina Jackson.

The Cowgirls tied the score in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff home run to center by Erika Piancastelli, her teamleading 13th of the season.

Alexsandra Flores (13-5) pitched a complete game for the win, allowing eight hits and striking out six. She escaped a jam in the top of the seventh inning, forcing three consecutive ground ball outs after the Islanders put runners on first and second with no outs on singles by Kayla Sheridan Kaylle Hoppens.

Sheridan, a Sulphur native, had a pair of hits for the Islanders (9-27-1, 1-13), who lost their third consecutive game and remained winless in 14 road games. Hoppens reached in all four plate appearances with three singles and a walk.

Edwards led the Cowgirls with two hits.

In the nightcap, Koncir turned in a stellar pitching performance, allowing only a bunt single in the fifth inning.

Caroline Settle retired the next three Islanders to end the game.

Koncir struck out two and walked one. No Islander reached second base.

“Tonight I was trying to establish both sides of the strike zone,” Koncir said. “I wanted to give my defense the easiest outs possible and I feel like they did a really good job.”

Justyce McClain led the Cowgirls offense, reaching base on two walks and a triple and scoring three runs.

Piancastelli, Lauren Brown and Brenique Wright each drove in a pair of runs.


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