Cowgirls in first-place logjam

McNeese State’s Justyce McClain is second in the Southland Conference in hitting with a .432 average and 20 stolen bases.

RickHickmanPhotographer
https://www.americanpress.com/content/tncms/avatars/6/d3/ea1/6d3ea1c8-3a6c-11e7-a1c2-0f91a5883b36.b31acdd1ef972ec0a2acb8ea5b28d153.png

{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>McNeese at Lamar, </strong></span><strong>5 p.m. (DH)</strong></p>” id=”c47fcf54-dbae-46ed-ac0a-7b5fabc83183″ style-type=”fact” title=”TONIGHT” type=”relcontent”}}

After suffering a 5-3 midweek loss at home to Louisiana-Lafayette, the McNeese State softball team will try to continue its climb up the Southland Conference standings when it travels to Lamar for a series beginning at 5 p.m. today with a doubleheader.

The Cowgirls (30-16, 12-6 SLC) travel to Lamar (24-21, 9-9) in a four-way tie for first place in the league standings with Nicholls State, Southeastern Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals enter the three-game series in desperate need of a good weekend as they are tied with Sam Houston State for the eighth and final SLC Tournament spot.

“It’s going to be a tough, tough series to play,” said McNeese head coach James Landreneau. “(Lamar head coach Holly Bruder) always does a really good job of getting her kids ready to play, and their fans are very passionate and loud. It’s going to be a tough series. We have to make sure we’re up for it.”

Landreneau said the Cowgirls had a good conversation about Wednesday night’s loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns and he feel their mind-set is in the right place heading into the series.

The Cowgirls continue to pressure teams with their stacked lineup that starts with the dangerous trio of Justyce McClain, Erika Piancastelli and Morgan Catron.

McClain is No. 2 in the conference with a .432 batting average with a league-high 64 hits and 20 stolen bases.

Piancastelli hit her 15th home run of the season against ULL and she also leads the team with 14 doubles, 45 RBIs and 38 walks. Catron is batting .328 with 10 home runs, 39 RBIs and 41 hits.

Alexaandria Saldivar and Lauren Brown have seen an uptick in success at the plate, with Saldivar hitting .319 and Brown batting .311 with 13 stolen bases.

Alexsandra Flores (14-7, 2.66 ERA) anchors McNeese in the circle with 66 strikeouts in 1181⁄3 innings. Aside from Caroline Settle (7-6, 4.32), Amber Coons (5-2, 3.75) and Ashley Koncir (4-1, 4.33) have seen their workload increase as the season has progressed.

“I think our players understand the importance of every series and every game we play,” Landrneau said. “We can’t downplay anything. It comes down to the process and what it takes for us to play well. I like our team when we play fundamentally sound, we’re aggressive and we get after it.”

The Cardinals are led by Savana Guidry (.340) with 50 hits and 13 stolen bases. They also have a dangerous power hitter in Kelly Meeuwson, who has a team-high seven homers.

Laura Napoli (12-11, 3.01) does most of the work in the circle for Lamar in 1461⁄3 innings of work. The Cardinals will likely use Taylor Gruell (7-6, 3.85) as a starter in one of the three games.

McNeese at Lamar, 5 p.m. (DH)

Crime

Beauregard man charged in father’s death

Local News

Overnight work on underground utilities starts next week

Local Business News

Carheel working to give people opportunity, skills for employment

Local News

Volunteers rewire, restring, restore Founders Park light display

Local News

Historic City Hall exhibits open for Thanksgiving weekend

Local News

Photo Gallery: Community celebrates Thanksgiving

Local News

Nicole Doucet treasures feedback from students — past and present

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Some earlier Thanksgivings

Local News

Kinder’s Julia Claire Williams preps for Miss America pageant

Local News

Holiday Art Walk: Find unique treasures at Downtown open-air shopping event

Local News

Thunderstorms expected on Thanksgiving Day

Local News

LC police investigating fatal crash that also left three hospitalized

Crime

Shots fired at Jennings home

Crime

JDSO: Shots fired at Jennings home

Local News

Leesville receives best audit in more than a decade

Business

Care Help of Sulphur receives $25,000 grant

Business

LNG export heavyweights: Cameron Parish has become a major world player

Business

Mark Judson guest column: Talk is cheap, unless it’s ‘law talk’

Business

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Local News

Jennings City Council expected to OK bid for hurricane recovery projects

life

IN ONE REPORTER’S HUMBLE OPINION: Ora Lee Cole Perkins makes the best dressing

Local News

Fighting gas prices, US to release 50M barrels of oil

Local News

Jennings Art and Technologies Center taking shape

Local News

New $11M housing program for LC