Four-run hole too much for Cowgirls

Cowgirl’s C Aubree Turbeville tags out Cajun’s Brittany Rodriguez as she attempts to tag up from 3rd on a popfly during a non-conference game at Cowgirl Diamond in Lake Charles, La., Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

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The McNeese State softball team couldn’t overcome a four-run deficit as Louisiana-Lafayette beat the Cowgirls 5-3 Wednesday night at Cowgirl Diamond. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns (29-11) jumped to a 4-0 lead with a three-run third inning and the Cowgirls (30-16) struggled to string hits together. 

“We knew were going to face a good team,” said McNeese head coach James Landreneau. “They played good defense and made some big plays when we were able to put some good swings on it.”

The Cowgirls had one big scoring play when Erika Piancastelli hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning that pulled the Cowgirls within a run. 

Piancastelli said she didn’t know what pitch she got a hold of, but she knew she put a good swing on it when the ball came off the bat. 

“That at-bat I was really just trying to tone it down,” Piancastelli said. “I wanted to poke it through and just do anything to get the ball on the ground.”

The ball didn’t get to the ground until it went over the left-field fence, scoring Shelbi Strickland and Justyce McClain, who each got on base after drawing walks. 

ULL did most of its damage against starter Ashley Koncir (4-1, 4.33 ERA), who picked up the loss after giving up four runs — three earned — on four hits with two walks in two innings. 

She was replaced in the third inning by Amber Coons, who inherited a bases-loaded situation and no outs. All three inherited runners scored, but Coons didn’t give up another run until the sixth inning when the Cajuns used a two-out rally to extend their lead to 5-3. 

“I was just trying to do what I could to keep them from scoring,” Coons said. “Unfortunately, That didn’t happen, but I was just focusing on hitting my spots.”

ULL starter Summer Ellyson (15-6, 1.71) earned the win after pitching 62⁄3 innings shutout innings, surrendering three hits, struck out four batters and walked five. 

Kylee Jo Trahan looked to replace her in the fifth inning, but after recording one out she gave up Piancastelli’s home run and promptly exited the game.

All four of McNeese’s pitchers recorded at least one out, something that hadn’t this season.

“I was trying to find any way I could to minimize damage,” Landreneau said. “We were trying to throw as many people as we could to throw them some different looks. I thought most of our pitchers came in and did a good job.”

The Cowgirls will travel to Beaumont, Texas, for a three-game Southland Conference series against Lamar beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.

UL-Lafayette 5, McNeese 3

Friday at Lamar, 5 p.m. (DH)

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