LAKE CHARLES, La. – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team dropped a 4-1 decision to McNeese State in the final game of the conference series Sunday afternoon at Cowgirl Diamond. The Islanders tallied seven hits to the Cowgirls' eight but a three-run fifth inning helped lift the home team to their fifth straight conference victory.
Valerie Perez went 2-for-3 to lead the Islanders' (6-21, 1-5 SLC) bats and Mickayla Cochran went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Meagan McKinney, Natalie Zarzabal and Hayley Galloway each chipped in one hit apiece for the Islanders
The Cowgirls (23-7, 5-0 SLC) received help from Lakeyn Fontenot who went 2-for-2 at the plate and Meagan Bond who recorded eight strikeouts in the circle.
Cochran opened the game with a base hit to shortstop and advanced to second on a Dani Tefft ground out. However, the Cowgirls escaped retiring the next two Islanders.
McNeese State got on board in the bottom of the second with a leadoff home run over the right field wall. Constance Brandenburg retired the next two Cowgirls before the home team put runners on first and second with a single to right field and a walk. Brandenburg responded though with a 1-3 putout.
McKinney tacked on the Islanders fourth hit of the game in the top of the third with a two-out single up the middle.
The Islanders' defense came up big in the bottom of the third after the Cowgirls put runners on second and third with one out. McNeese State led the frame with a hit by pitch and followed it with a walk. After a sacrifice hit landed runners on second and third, the Islanders' pulled together to escape the jam. Lindsey Lyles fielded a hard ground ball at third for the putout and Cochran followed with a catch in right center.
The Islanders had another strong defensive inning in the bottom of the fourth frame. After a leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt, the Cowgirls put runners on first and second. Ashley Elicerio came in to relieve Brandenburg in the circle with one out and the Islanders' defense pulled out of the inning with a fly out to Cochran in center field and a line drive to Perez at shortstop.
McNeese State posted three runs in the bottom of the fifth on three hits to take a 4-0 lead. After a single and a double plated Emily Vincent, a sacrifice fly to Cochran in center field tacked on the second run, before a single to a diving Galloway at second scored the third run of the frame.
The Islanders jumped on board in the top of the seventh with one run on three hits. Perez led the top of the seventh with a rip to center field before Galloway followed with a single up the middle with two outs. Cochran then stepped to the plate and drilled a RBI single to center field to score Perez and advanced to second on the throw. With runners on second and third, Tefft grounded out to third base to end the game.
Brandenburg (4-9) took the loss for the Islanders in 3.1 innings. She allowed four hits and one run while walking three. Elicerio allowed three runs, two of them earned, four hits while walking one and striking out one in 2.2 innings.
Meagan Bond (11-2) picked up the victory in the circle for the Cowgirls. She allowed seven hits, one run, while striking out eight and walking none in seven innings.
The Islanders will host Northwestern State in a three-game series at Chapman Field on March 23 and March 24.
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