HUNTSVILLE, Texas - Despite a masterful job of pitching all night by starter Greta Cecchetti, the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team lost its opening game of the Southland Conference Tournament against McNeese State by a 1-0 final in eight innings. The top-seeded Islanders will move on to face Northwestern State at 12 p.m. on Friday.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi falls to 38-18 on the year while McNeese State improved to 31-27 after winning its second game of the day.
Cecchetti started the game and gave up just four hits, but one of them was a solo home run in the top of the eighth as she absorbed the loss and moved to 8-5 on the year.
The Islanders and Cowgirls both had several chances to score in the first seven innings, but neither team were able to make the most of them.
In the third inning, Brittany Tucker doubled with two outs and was followed by Lauren Dodson. The starting shortstop put a charge into one to centerfield, but the Cowgirls fielder was able to track it down to keep the game scoreless.
Another missed opportunity came in the fifth inning when designated player Jamise Jackson hit a ball to the deepest part of the field with the centerfielder coming underneath the ball just in front of the fence to keep the game scoreless.
"We played hard tonight," said head coach Jake Schumann. "We squared the ball up and hit two balls to the warning track but were unable to score any runs.
"They made great plays defensively and they got the one hit that counted."
In the top of the eighth, McNeese State got a solo home run from their left fielder to score the first run of the game in the first extra frame to make it a 1-0 game.
The Islanders were unable to get one of their own in the bottom half of the eighth as they fell by a 1-0 final.
They outhit McNeese State 5-4, but it was the final hit by the Cowgirls that was the deciding factor in the game. Tucker was the only Islanders player with two hits in the game while Caley Jeter, Kacie Smith and pinch-hitter Stephanie Vead had one apiece.
The loss means Texas A&M - Corpus Christi will play the first game of the day at 12 p.m. on Friday where they will face off against the Northwestern State Lady Demons. The winner of that game will stay alive in the tournament and advance to face the winner of the other loser's bracket game between UTSA and the loser of the final game on Thursday between UT Arlington and Texas State.
Live audio will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.