HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana softball team closed out the 2017 regular season with a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Southland Conference regular season champion McNeese State on Senior Day Saturday at North Oak Park.
Southeastern finished the season with a 26-29 overall record and a 12-15 Southland Conference record. McNeese (39-16, 24-3 Southland) completed the sweep and will carry a 10-game win streak into the Southland Conference Tournament.
The Lady Lions finished tied with Northwestern State for the final spot in the Southland Conference Tournament. However, the Lady Demons will earn the sixth and final seed in next week’s tournament in Conway, Arkansas due to taking two of three from Southeastern earlier this season.
The 2017 season will be the final season the Southland Conference Tournament field will only be six teams. Starting in 2018, the top eight teams will advance to the postseason.
Saturday saw the final games in the careers of seniors Mychal Truxillo and Kasey Nielson, as they were both honored prior to Saturday’s twin bill. Both will graduate in December after four years with the SLU program.
In the opener, Southeastern rallied to tie the game, 4-4, at the end of the fifth inning after facing an early deficit. However, the Cowgirls exploded for seven runs in the final two innings to pull away for an 11-4 victory. Sophomore Whitney Sullivan hit her first home run of the season in the loss, while sophomore Jaquelyn Ramon and junior Kinsey Nichols each drove in a pair of runs.
In the nightcap, a four-run first inning was too much for the Lady Lions to overcome in a 7-3 defeat. Ramon, Nichols and junior Alli Daigle each had two hits apiece for SLU. Nielson (2-3) went the distance in the circle in her final collegiate game.
Southeastern will return all of its starters for next season, as the program continues to grow under head coach Rick Fremin.
Game One – McNeese 11, Southeastern Louisiana 4
SLU freshman Alley McDonald (4-4) and McNeese starter Baylee Corbello (10-3) each threw a pair of 1-2-3 innings before the Cowgirls struck first in the top of the third inning. A McCoy error allowed the first McNeese run to score, then RBI singles by Justyce McClain and Erika Piancastelli gave McNeese a 3-0 lead.
The Lady Lions answered in their half of the third inning. Sullivan hit the second pitch of the frame over the left centerfield fence to put SLU on the board. Daigle followed with a double into the right centerfield gap and later scored on a bunt single by Ramon to cut the McNeese lead to 3-2.
McDonald struck out Carleigh Chaumont to get out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning. In the Southeastern fourth, junior Mahalia Gibson reached on an error and freshman Ali McCoy singled to put a pair of runners on, but Corbello retired Sullivan to maintain the one-run lead.
MSU doubled its lead in the top of the fifth inning. McClain led off the frame with a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch by McCoy to extend the Cowgirl advantage to 4-2.
Junior Maddie Edmonston singled and junior Kalyn Watts reached on a fielder’s choice to put two runners on with one out. A double steal was followed by a throwing error allowed Edmonston to score and Watts would later come home on an RBI single by Nichols to tie the score at 4-4.
After McDonald got two quick outs, Corbello gave the Cowgirls the lead for good with a solo home run just inside the left field foul pole in the top of the sixth inning. A two-run double by Alexandria Saldivar pushed the Cowgirls a 7-4 lead. A four-run seventh inning ended any hope of a SLU comeback and provided McNeese with the final 11-4 margin.
MCN – 003 013 4 – 11 10 3 (38-16, 23-3 SLC)
SLU – 002 020 0 – 4 7 2 (26-28, 12-14 SLC)
Morgan Catron, Baylee Corbello (1) and Erika Piancastelli. Alley McDonald, Lacey Hill (7) and Whitney Sullivan. W – Corbello (10-3). L – McDonald (3-4). HR – MCN: Hailey Drew (6), Baylee Corbello (1); SLU: Whitney Sullivan (1). 2B – MCN: Alexandria Saldivar (7), Tori Yanitor (8); SLU: Alli Daigle (6). T – 2:21. A – 306.
Game Two – McNeese 7, Southeastern Louisiana 3
McNeese jumped out to a four-run lead versus Nielson in the top of the first inning. The Cowgirls sent all nine to the plate in the opening frame to take a commanding 4-0 lead. A solo home run by Morgan Catron in top of the third inning extended MSU’s advantage to 5-0.
McNeese starter Alexsandra Flores (11-4) held SLU in check until Southeastern finally got to her in the bottom of the fourth inning. A Cowgirl error plated SLU’s first run in the inning, then Daigle doubled into the right field corner to score junior Carlie Whittington to cut the lead to 5-2.
Southeastern pulled even closer in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ramon beat out an infield single, stole her league-high 54th base of the season and eventually scored on a single by Nichols to pull SLU to within, 5-3.
But as they did all weekend, the Cowgirls immediately answered. A two-run single just inside the left field line by Chaumont gave the Cowgirls a four-run cushion. Flores would make it stand, limiting the Lady Lions to singles by McCoy and Ramon over the final two frames to end Southeastern’s season.
MCN – 401 002 0 – 7 13 4 (39-16, 24-3 SLC)
SLU – 000 210 0 – 3 7 1 (26-29, 12-15 SLC)
Alexsandra Flores and Aubree Turbeville, Erika Piancastelli (7). Kasey Nielson and Whitney Sullivan, Carlie Whittington (5). W – Flores (11-4). L – Nielson (2-3). HR – MCN: Morgan Catron (9). 2B – MCN: Alexandria Saldivar 2 (9), Megan Holmes (3); SLU: Alli Daigle (7). T – 1:50. A – 306.