Cowgirls sweep last-place Islanders

Piancastelli climbs career charts

McNeese State’s Erika Piancastelli dives into third base with a triple against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Saturday at Cowgirl Diamond. Piancastelli became the Cowgirls’ career leader in hits (231) and SLC RBIs (193) leader.

Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press

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Prolific Mc-Neese State hitter Erika Piancastelli further etched her name into the history books with a game-ending RBI single that sealed a five-inning, 10-2 victory Saturday to complete a three-game sweep of Texas A&M- Corpus Christi.

With the hit she broke the school record for career hits (231) and the Southland Conference record for career RBIs (193).

“I don’t really know when I break records like that until someone says it out loud,” Piancastelli said. “It’s always nice being surrounded by my team during those moments. To be honest, I was just trying to poke the ball through, and I literally poked it through.”

The Cowgirls (27-13, 10-5) were forced to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning after the Islanders (9-28, 1-14) scored two runs to cut McNeese’s lead to 9-2 and delay the mercy run rule.

McNeese head coach James Landreneau said that turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed Piancastelli to break the records in front of a home crowd.

Prior to the game-winner, Justyce McClain led off the inning with a single that ended with her on third base after a pair of throwing errors.

Piancastelli pooched one into left field that scored Mc-Clain and closed the game out.

“I really appreciate our fans coming out and supporting us, especially in these weather conditions,” Landreneau said. “It’s special that Erika gets to break that record in front of a home crowd. A lot of times that happens on the road, so it’s nice to get it done.”

The Cowgirls took control with a seven-run first inning. McNeese may have gotten an assist from the wet weather conditions as AMCC pitchers Ashley Smith (2-16, 4.49 ERA) and Alexis Tovar struggled to keep the ball dry and find the strike zone.

Piancastelli opened the scoring with an RBI triple off the right-field wall that scored McClain. After a wild pitch scored Piancastelli and a bases-loaded walk to Aubree Turbeville scored Brenique Wright, Taylor Strother opened flood gates with a two-run double that gave the Cowgirls a 5-0 lead.

“It was just a strike,” Strother said. “I was just trying to keep it simple and see ball, hit ball. It was a good feeling. I was just trying to work up the middle and make an adjustment.”

Piancastelli and Morgan Catron both walked with the bases loaded to force in two more runs before the Islanders recorded the third out.

That made things easy for McNeese pitcher Caroline Settle (7-6, 4.08 ERA) who went all five innings, giving up two runs on five hits.

“I was just trying to keep the ball dry and trying to keep my hand dry to spin the ball,” Settle said. “It makes my job easy, especially when you have hitters like these guys.”

The Cowgirls will head to Waco, Texas, for a pair of midweek games against Baylor before returning home for a vital conference series against Nicholls State. The Baylor games will be available on regional television.

After sweeping the lastplace Islanders, McNeese sits a game back of the Colonels and Northwestern State for first place in the league standings.

“I’m just excited to see our team really play as a unit and to see the energy they put out in the last two games especially,” Landreneau said. “I like where our team is at and the direction we’re headed.”

The Islanders have lost four straight and all but one of their last 18 games.

 
 

McNeese 10, Texas A&M-CC 2, 5 innings

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