Bombs away: LSU blasts three HRs in mercy-rule victory over McNeese State

Rodrick Anderson

BATON ROUGE — McNeese State got out to an early lead, but the power-hitting of No. 7 LSU eventually got to the Cowgirls as the Tigers runruled them 10-2 in the opening game of the Baton Rouge Regional Friday afternoon.

“It was a tough game,” McNeese head coach James Landreneau said “We came out and were able to score something first.

“I thought we would have something going, but we couldn’t miss their barrels tonight. Home runs were the name of the game today. They had some timely hits and the game just got away from us right there. It kind of looked like we got shell-shocked a little bit.”

The Cowgirls (34-25), who had their five-game winning streak snapped, will try to avoid a twoand-out showing in an elimination game against George Washington at 4:30 p.m. today. LSU (33-19) will play Louisiana-Lafayette at 2 p.m.

“We need to regroup, take a deep breath and make sure we come back and start to focus on us a little bit,” Landreneau said. “I think we started to focus a little bit on LSU.

“Once they start to swing it … obviously you have to take your hats off to them. (LSU) played exceptional tonight.”

The Tigers, who beat McNeese 8-0 in six innings in the Cowgirls’ season opener, scored their first five runs on home runs. Amanda Doyle, who drove in four runs and scored three times, hit the first of her two home runs with two outs in the first inning to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. She added a solo shot to right field in the fifth inning not long after the Cowgirls had cut the deficit to 4-2. Pitcher Shelbi Sunseri (10-6), who threw a complete game, hit a two-run blast off the scoreboard in the fourth inning.

Whitney Tate (13-8) took the loss.

“I think what you have to look at is that every time it kind of felt like we would get something going, that they kind of changed the game a little bit,” Landreneau said. “We have to put people in motion and move around a little bit.

‘When you are chasing runs, it is a little hard to do that. It kept us off of our game plan. They pitched us well and they started changing speeds on us, and we had some weak contact. We have to a better job of keeping our bat fast and not slow.”

McNeese leadoff batter Cori McCrary reached base in the first inning after getting hit by a pitch and scored on a steal while Kaylee Lopez was caught in a rundown between first and second.

Jil Poullard brought home Chloe Gomez in the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 4-2, but the Cowgirls struggled to make good contact against Sunseri with four hits and left five runners on base.

“I thought we were able to get people on base consistently, just didn’t have a whole bunch hit hard,” Landreneau said. “Jil Poullard squared up a couple of balls right into the wind and we were able to scratch a run off of it.”

Defense was also a problem for the Cowgirls. While they turned their NCAA Division I-leading 44th double play, they committed three errors.

“Bottom line is we have to play better defensively,” Landreneau said. “The thing that has kind of carried us all year kind of failed us today.

“Defensively we have been pretty solid all season, and today we just turned that lineup over too many times. Walks and errors killed us.”

””

McNeese State’s Jil Poullard of Moss Bluff sees a pitch she likes from LSU’s Shelbi Sunseri during the NCAA Tournament Baton Rouge Regional Friday at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge.

Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press

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