Cowgirls forget LSU, welcome last-place Islanders

McNeese’s starting pitcher Caroline Settle during a non-conference game at Cowgirl Diamond in Lake Charles, La., Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

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{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<p><span>Texas A&M-CC at McNeese 5 p.m. (DH)</span></p>” id=”3a528056-0849-46d7-a2f4-017ec5384ef5″ style-type=”fact” title=”TONIGHT” type=”relcontent”}}SLC Softball

{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<div class="this_article"> <div id="articleViewerPopup_articleViewer" class="article_viewer ArticleViewer text use-3d ltr" data-olive-control="ArticleViewer"> <div class="animation-wrapper"> <div class="align-wrapper offset-wrapper"> <div class="zoom-wrapper"> <div class="article" lang="en" data-view-mode="text"> <div class="Lead"> <p><strong>‘Practices went well and the players came out and responded with a ton of energy. We have a lot energy, focus and we put that game behind us.’</strong><br /><strong>James Landreneau</strong><br />Cowgirls softball coach</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="odn-icon close_button"> </div>” id=”74fd5cf5-3450-477b-895c-569f2e347ead” style-type=”quote” title=”Pull Quote” type=”relcontent”}}

The McNeese State softball team will try to put its 9-1, five-inning loss to LSU behind it and continue its run through the Southland Conference schedule when the Cowgirls host last-place Texas A&M-Corpus Christi beginning with a doubleheader at Cowgirl Diamond at 5 p.m. today.

The Cowgirls (24-13, 7-5 SLC) host the Islanders (9-25-1, 1-11) after allowing five home runs and garnering one hit against the Tigers, but head coach James Landreneau said they practiced with a lot of energy heading into the weekend.

“Practices went well and the players came out and responded with a ton of energy, especially (Thursday),” Landreneau said. “We hit early this morning to break up the routine during spring break. We have a lot energy, focus and we put that game behind us.”

After losing their first four games of the league schedule, the Cowgirls have won seven of their last eight to move into a three-way tie for fourth place with Southeastern Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin. Mc-Neese is two games behind first-place Nicholls State and Northwestern State.

“Every single game in conference play is always huge,” Landreneau said. “We’ve always taken that approach, and we have to continue to do so. We have to make sure it’s one game at a time for us. We don’t have control over what everyone else in the conference will do.”

The Cowgirls have seen a dip in productivity from the pitching staff over the last few weeks.

Redshirt freshman Caroline Settle (6-6) has seen her ERA rise from 2.64 to 4.40 since the start of conference play, and she has accumulated a 1-4 record since her first SLC appearance.

Landreneau said having such a young rotation brings challenges, especially in the mental side of the game.

“Even the games that haven’t gone her way, (Settle) has had some innings that were good,” Landreneau said. “We have to put a complete together right now. She’s shown she can do it. … She has some stuff there. She’s just run into bad luck and we’ve kicked some balls behind her.

“Any time you’re dealing with youth, you have to work hard mentally on how to prepare every week. Just because you had a good week doesn’t mean it’s going to be there the next week.”

Alexsandra Flores (12-5, 2.13 ERA) leads the Cowgirls in the circle with 55 strikeouts in 95 1/3 innings.

Sulphur High product Kayla Sheridan leads the Islanders at the plate with a .319 batting average to go along with a team-high 14 stolen bases. She is bolstered by Keagan Helson, who has a team-high five home runs and 18 RBIs.

Kandace Johnson (5-3, 6.25) and Ashley Smith (2-14, 5.26) do most of the work in the circle for AMCC. They have struck out a combined 77 batters.

The Islanders are winless in 12 road games and beat Abilene Christian last week to snap a 13-game winless streak.

 
 

‘Practices went well and the players came out and responded with a ton of energy. We have a lot energy, focus and we put that game behind us.’
James Landreneau
Cowgirls softball coach

 

Texas A&M-CC at McNeese 5 p.m. (DH)