SAN ANTONIO – McNeese State scored two runs in each of the first four innings and carried that momentum to an 11-3 win over the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi softball team in the opening round of the 2012 Southland Conference Softball Tournament. Mickayla Heller delivered three hits in a losing effort for the Islanders.
The Islanders will now play UTSA on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. The contest will be the first elimination game of the double-elimination tournament. Click here for the updated tournament schedule.
Claire Terracina went 3-for-4 and scored four runs for the Cowgirls, while four other players had multi-hit games for McNeese. In addition to Heller's three hits for the Islanders, Cassie Redman delivered a pair of singles and Meagan McKinney scored two of the Islanders' three runs.
Tiffany Denham got the win for McNeese, scattering seven hits and two walks over six innings, as all three runs she allowed were unearned. Greta Cecchetti struggled in the circle, surrendering six hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings to collect the loss.
The Cowgirls got out to a quick start with two runs each in the first and second innings. In the opening frame, two walks and two errors produced a pair of runs with the benefit of just one hit to make it a 2-0 McNeese State lead. In the second, the Cowgirls got a leadoff double followed by an infield single, then an RBI grounder made it 3-0. Later in the frame, an RBI fielder's choice pushed the lead to 4-0.
The Islanders struck back with two runs in the top of the third. An error was followed by a Cassie Redman single, then a sacrifice by Hannah Schwarz put two runners in scoring position with one away. A Meagan McKinney walk loaded the bases for Laura Phillips with one down, and the designated player ripped a grounder to third. The third baseman got a force out at the plate, but the relay to first sailed down the right-field line, scoring both Redman and McKinney to chop the lead in half at 4-2.
McNeese State scored two more in the bottom of the third with a two-out rally. Claire Terracina started the rally with a double to deep center to knock in a run, then Lauren Langner knocked in a run on a single up the middle to make it 6-2. In the top of the fourth, the Islanders rallied to load the bases, but Schwarz was robbed on a diving catch by Marissa Koetting to end the frame.
It was another two-out rally for McNeese in the fourth that pushed the lead to 8-2. A walk and a single put two on with two away, then Dani Price drove them both home with a double to left. The Islanders bounced back in the top of the fifth to get a run back, though. The first two players reached on a single and an error, but the next two batters were retired on a flyout and a groundout. Heller then came through with her third hit of the day, ripping a single to left to bring in a run and make it 8-3.
A Katie Roux solo homer in the bottom of the sixth pushed the lead to 9-3 for the Cowgirls, then McNeese scored two more runs with two outs in the frame to end the game in six innings. Alanna DiVittorio and Ashley Modzelewski delivered the final two base hits, each knocking in a run to close out the game in six innings.