LSU uses long ball to rout Cowgirls

Scores six runs in second inning

McNeese’s C Erika Piancastelli speaks with starter Caroline Settle after giving up a 3 run homer in the top of the 1st 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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The McNeese State softball team’s pitching staff gave up five home runs in the first two innings and LSU ran away with a 9-1 win in five innings in front of 1,228 fans, a Cowgirl Diamond record.

The Cowgirls (24-13) had no answer for the Tigers’ (30-6) bats or LSU starting pitcher Carli Hoover (13-3, 1.04 ERA) in the lopsided defeat.

“I don’t know how to walk through that game,” said McNeese head coach James Landreneau. “They got a couple people on and put some good swings on pitches. You have to tip your hat to them. The came out ready to attack a strike.”

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LSU got things started with a three-run by Shemiah Sanchez home run in the first inning. It was the first of two Sanchez homers.

The Tigers did most of their damage in the third inning. McNeese starting pitcher Caroline Settle (6-6, 4.40) came out of the game after letting two more batters reach base.

She was replaced by Amber Coons, who faced five batters, four of whom hit home runs for six runs before Landreneau went to Ashley Koncir with two outs in the second inning trailing 9-0.

“I didn’t think about the situation at all,” Koncir said. “We were getting this batter, I’m going to help the defense in the best way that I can. I’d like a strikeout, but probably a pop fly or an easy grounder that they can handle.”

McNeese’s head coach James Landreneau reacts after being ejected from the game 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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Koncir was the bright spot in an otherwise drab game for the Cowgirls, going 31⁄3 innings in which she gave up one hit and struck out three.

Hoover dominated much of the game in the circle, going all five innings no-hitting the Cowgirls until Erika Piancastelli hit an RBI double with two outs in the fifth inning.

The Cowgirls had an opportunity in the first inning to cut into the Tigers’ lead when Hoover walked Piancastelli and hit Morgan Catron with a pitch, but she followed that by striking out Brenique Wright and Shanice Hagler.

“Carley Hoover is a great pitcher,” Piancastelli said. “I don’t think she’s unhittable, but she’s just a pitcher with velocity and movement. We can’t really think too much about it. What’s across their chest isn’t something we need to worry about. It’s just one pitcher, one pitch.”

Landreneau got tossed from the game for what was called an illegal substitution after Taylor Edwards seemingly recorded what would have been McNeese’s first hit of the game.

Despite playing defense for two innings, Edwards was ruled ineligible as, according to Landreneau, the home plate umpire believed he had replaced Lauren Brown with the No. 2, instead of Edwards’ No. 22. McNeese’s No. 2 Justyce McClain was also in the lineup in the leadoff spot.

This led to an argument that quickly escalated and ended with Landreneau being thrown out of the game and being held back by the other two umpires.

“I have to do a better job of, when things don’t go right, keeping myself in the game and not letting a lot of emotions come out like that time,” Landreneau said. “I expect myself to do a better job for my team.

“I think my substitution was correct, and I’m going to stand by that.”

The Cowgirls return to Cowgirl Diamond at 6 p.m. Friday to start its series with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

“This game doesn’t define us,” Landreneau said. “This is a part of our season, it’s not our season. We never (define) one game as our season. These young ladies understand the process and about growing. It’s a tough loss and it’s going to sting, but by all means, this is a strong team. They’re going to bounce back.”

LSU 9, McNeese 1, 5 inns.

McNeese St. vs. Texas A&M-CC

Friday 5 p.m. (DH)