SB: Cowgirls Stay Alive With Win Over HCU


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

McNeese (39-19) will play No. 3 seed Nicholls at 3:30 pm Thursday. A win by the Cowgirls would have McNeese play the loser of No. 2 seed Southeastern and No. 4 seed UIW at 6 pm

#1 McNeese vs. #4 UIW
Samantha Portillo held McNeese hitless for the first 4 2/3 innings before freshman Brilee Ford hit her first career homerun to put the Cowgirls on the board.

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

Portillo improved to 10-6 on the year with the complete game win. cowgirls ace Shaelyn Sanders fell to 19-10 who also tossed a complete game.

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

McNeese missed a scoring opportunity in the first inning when Alexis Dibbley and Corine Poncho drew back to walks with two outs, but Portillo got Emily Phillips to go down looking to end the threat.

One inning later, McNeese stranded Mariana Torres on second after she drew a walk and stole second to move into scoring position but was left on second on a Ford flew out to centerfield.

Corine Poncho’s lead off double off the left field wall in the fourth inning broke up Portillo’s no-hitter. Poncho stole third and with one out, Bella Perez He flew out to center and Poncho was thrown out at home attempting to score.

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

Portillo got two quick outs when Phillips grounded out to second and Perez flew out to left. Reese Reyna kept the Cowgirls alive with single through the right side that brought Torres to the plate, who represented the tying run. Torres double down the left field line to score Reyna to cut the lead to 3-2 but Portillo got Ford to ground out too short to end the game, snapping McNeese’s Southland Conference Tournament wins at 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 by Emily Phillipsa two out two RBI double down the right field line by Reese Reyna to lead 3-0. Phillips later scored on a pass ball.

HCU scored one run in the bottom half of the inning when AB Garcia led off with a walk, went to second 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.

S4: McNeese tied the game at five all in the fourth when Mariana Torres led the inning off with a triple then scored on a fielder’s choice by Brilee Ford.

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

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

B6: HCU would get a run in the bottom of the inning on a Kaicey Hagler sacrifice fly to bring HCU to within two.

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

Garcia singled to third bringing the tying run to the plate twice, but reliever Ryann Schexnayder got Haylie Savage to foul out to Ford at third and Jasie Roberts grounded out to second 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 picked up seven hits in the win with Alexis Dibbley and Torres collecting two apiece while Reyna knocked in three of the eight Cowgirl runs.

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