Cowgirls on the road for midweek series with Baylor

<p>McNeese’s Erika Piancastelli rounds 2nd on her way to a triple against Texas A&amp;M Corpus Christi at Cowgirl Diamond in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Saturday, April 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Lake Charles American Press, Kirk Meche)</p><a href="mailto:rhickman@americanpress.com"> Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press </a>

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<p class="p1">The McNeese State softball team will try to use the momentum it built in a sweep against Texas A&amp;M-Corpus Christi over the weekend when it travels to Waco, Texas, for a two-game midweek series against Baylor.

<p class="p1">The series begins Tuesday at 5 p.m. then will conclude Wednesday with a game scheduled for 4 p.m.

<p class="p1">“We haven’t (had a midweek series) in a while,” said McNeese head coach James Landreneau. “You’ll have to ask me again on Thursday. For us, facing a really good team in Baylor is a good challenge with good timing for us. We’re excited for it.”

<p class="p1">The midweek series comes a day after the Southland Conference announced Erika Piancastelli as hitter of the week after a weekend in which she hit .667 with a .692 on-base percentage and a 1.444 slugging percentage.

<p class="p1">Piancastelli ended her weekend with a game-ending RBI single that broke the McNeese career record for hits with 231 and the SLC record for RBIs with 193.

<p class="p1">This marks the third consecutive week a member of the Cowgirls earned the honor, as Morgan Catron won the award the previous two weeks.

<p class="p1">Despite the success hitting, Landreneau said the lineup still has a lot of work to do to reach its potential.

<p class="p1">“We have a better feel for our lineup, but we’re still plugging players in there trying to find the right mix,” Landreneau said. “You still see a lot of different mixes of our lineup. Hopefully it settles in soon.”

<p class="p1">Landreneau has also begun to utilize the depth of his rotation as of late. Freshman pitcher Ashley Koncir (3-0, 3.09 ERA) has begun to see more action since her performance last week against LSU in which she went 3 1/3 innings giving up just one hit and no runs.

<p class="p1">That earned her a start against AMCC in which she went four inning shutout innings in which she gave up just one hit.

<p class="p1">She adds to a rotation that already includes ace Alexsandra Flores (13-5, 2.12), regular starter Caroline Settle (7-6, 4.08) and fellow true freshman Amber Coons (4-2, 3.99).

<p class="p1">“It’s really who is pitching well,” Landreneau said. “I have a lot of confidence in all four of our pitchers. They’ve all had different roles throughout the season and I’d imagine it will stay that way the rest of the year. Their roles will be determined by their performance.”

<p class="p1">The Cowgirls will likely go against Gia Rodini (14-6, 2.15 ERA) and Regan Green (7-2, 2.57). The two have a combined 205 strikeouts in 180 1/3 innings of work.

<p class="p1">In Baylor’s 7-1 victory against the Cowboys back February, Rodini went all seven innings giving up just one run on four hits with eight strikeouts.

<p class="p1">“Hopefully we can learn from the mistakes me made in the first go-around,” Landreneau said. “You know they’re going to be solid throughout the lineup and pitch really well. We have to play clean defense with a good effort and good intensity level.”

<p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>McNeese </strong></span><strong>at Baylor, </strong><strong>5 p.m.  </strong>

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