HAMMOND, La. – McNeese scored seven runs in the first inning on the way to a 13-1 run-rule victory over Southeastern Louisiana in the opening game of the regular season’s final Southland Conference softball series Friday evening at North Oak Park.
Southeastern fell to 26-27 overall and 12-13 in league action after the loss. McNeese (37-16, 22-3 Southland) won its eighth straight game and has already clinched the regular season championship and the No. 1 seed in next week’s Southland Conference Tournament.
SLU’s own postseason hopes are still alive heading into the final game of the regular season. However, Friday’s results didn’t go Southeastern’s way, as Sam Houston State took two at Houston Baptist and Northwestern State won its series opener versus Central Arkansas. Both SHSU and NWST came into the final series a game behind SLU in the conference standings.
The Lady Lions managed four hits off McNeese starter Rachel Smith (15-7). Junior Kalyn Watts, sophomore Jaquelyn Ramon, freshman Mattie Ort and freshman Ali McCoy each collected hits for SLU. Junior Kinsey Nichols drove in junior Maddie Edmonston for the lone run of the game for Southeastern.
The Cowgirls send 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first on the way to a 7-0 advantage. Taylor Schmidt drew a bases loaded walk to force in the game’s first run, then two more came in on two-run single by Hailey Drew. Carleigh Chaumont capped the frame’s scoring with a grand slam inside the left field foul pole to give the Cowgirls a commanding lead.
Southeastern threated in the second, third and fourth innings, but could not get anything across. McNeese padded their lead with three runs in both the third and fourth innings to take a 13-0 lead into the fifth inning.
Smith hit Edmonston, walked Watts and gave up an infield single to Ramon to let SLU load the bases with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. Nichols then hit a grounder to second that allowed Edmonston to score, but resulted in the second out of the inning. Junior Mahalia Gibson then hit one right on the button, but right at centerfield Justyce McClain for the final out of the game, allowing the Cowgirls to enforce the mercy rule.
The series wraps up with a 12 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday. Prior to the doubleheader, Southeastern will honor 2017 seniors Mychal Truxillo and Kasey Nielson before the final home games of their careers. LionVision subscribers will be able to access a live video stream (no audio) of Saturday’s doubleheader at www.LionSports.net/watch.
MCN – 703 30 – 13 13 0 (37-16, 22-3 SLC)
SLU – 000 01 – 1 4 0 (26-27, 12-13 SLC)
Rachel Smith and Aubree Turbeville. Lacey Hill, Rachel Hayes (3), Tanner Wright (3) and Whitney Sullivan, Carlie Whittington (5). HR – MCN: Carleigh Chaumont (3). 2B – MCN: Hailey Drew (10), Aubree Turbeville (1); SLU: Kalyn Watts (8). T – 1:35. A – 244.