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SB: Cowgirls stay alive after win over HCU

SB: Cowgirls stay alive after win over HCU


HAMMOND – Top-seeded McNeese softball bounced back from a 3-2 loss to No. 4 seed Incarnate Word with an 8-6 win over No. 7 Houston Christian Wednesday night to stay alive in the double-elimination Southland Conference Tournament.

McNeese (39-19) will play No. 3 seed Nicholls on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. With a Cowgirls win, McNeese would play the loser of No. 2 seed Southeastern and No. 4 seed UIW at 6 p.m.

#1 McNeese vs. #4 UIW
Samantha Portillo held McNeese hitless through the first 4 2/3 innings as a freshman Brillee Ford hit her first career home run to put the Cowgirls on the board.

McNeese (38-19) stranded four runners, including the tying run at second base in the seventh inning.

Portillo improved to 10-6 on the year with the complete game win. Cowgirls bait Shaelyn Sanders fell to 19-10, who also threw a complete game.

UIW (33-15) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a one-out solo home run to centerfield by Jillan Guiterrez.

McNeese then missed a scoring opportunity in the first inning Alexis Dibbley And Corine Poncho pulled away and walked with two outs, but Portillo got Emily Phillips to go down to end the threat.

One inning later, McNeese was stranded Mariana Torres on second after drawing a walk and stealing second to get into scoring position, but was left in second after Ford’s fly ball to centerfield.

Corine Ponchos leadoff double off the left field wall in the fourth inning broke Portillo’s no-hitter. Poncho stole third base and with one out, Bella Perez flew to the middle and Poncho was thrown out at home trying to score.

McNeese tied the game at one run apiece in the fifth inning on Ford’s home run, but UIW answered with two runs in the sixth on a sacrifice fly and a Cowgirl error to regain the lead 3-1.

Portillo got two quick outs when Phillips grounded to second base and Perez flew out to left. Reese Reyna kept the Cowgirls alive with a single through the right side that brought Torres to the plate, which represented the tying run. Torres doubled down the left field line to score Reyna and cut the lead to 3-2, but Portillo got Ford to ground out short to end the game, clinching McNeese’s Southland Conference Tournament victories after 10 games.

The loss is the first tournament loss for the Cowgirls since 2019.

#1 McNeese vs. #7 Houston Christian
McNeese took a 4–0 lead in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk Emily Phillipsa two-for-two RBI double down the right field line Reese Reyna leading 3-0. Phillips later scored on a passing ball.

HCU scored one run in the bottom of the inning when AB Garcia led off with a walk, went to second base on a wild pitch and scored on a double down the right field line. Two innings later, the Huskies took a 5-4 lead on a grand slam by Maddy Bailey.

T4: McNeese tied the game at five in the fourth then Mariana Torres opened the inning with a triple and then scored on a fielder’s choice Brillee Ford.

McNeese retook the lead in the fifth inning with two runs on one single. A sacrifice fly by Reyna scored Corine Poncho. Poncho reached base after being hit by a pitch. Poncho later scored on a sac-bunt from Emily Phillips. The Cowgirls executed a double steal to perfection that made this possible Rylie Bouvier to score, pushing McNeese’s lead to 7-5.

Poncho’s sac-bunt in the sixth brought home Rylee Eester to extend the lead to 8-5.

B6: HCU would score a run in the bottom half of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Kaicey Hagler, bringing HCU within two runs.

McNeese left the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh and couldn’t move any runs across as Ford flew out to left, Moreno lined up center and Eyster grounded to third base.

Garcia singled to third to plate the tying run twice, but reliever Ryann Schexnayder got Haylie Savage to foul Ford at third base and Jasie Roberts hit a grounder to second base to end the game.

Schexnayder improved to 9-2 on the year with the win. She allowed one run on three hits in 4 2/3 innings. McNeese had seven hits in the win with Alexis Dibbley and Torres collected two each while Reyna drove in three of eight Cowgirl runs.