McNeese beats Minnesota, earns spot in NCAA Softball Regional finals

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SEATTLE, Wa.— For the second straight year, McNeese softball is headed to the regional championship game after a 1-0 win over Minnesota late Saturday night.

The Cowgirls (46-15) will face the No. 7 overall ranked team in the nation and the regionals No. 1 seed Washington (40-12) at 3 p.m. (CT) Sunday. The Cowgirls must defeat the Huskies twice if they want to advance to their first Super Regionals in program history.

Freshman Corine Poncho took advantage of her first start in the regional tournament and provided the game winning RBI in the second inning with a two out single through the left side that scored Mariana Torres from second. Torres reach base on a one out walk then moved into scoring position on a ground out by Rylie Bouvier.

Ashley Vallejo (19-8) tossed another gem and picked up her seventh shutout of the season. The shutout by the Cowgirls is the first shutout by a Southland Conference in the NCAA Tournament since 2009.

Vallejo allowed six hits with three strikeouts, and one walk. The three strikeouts marked 300 for her career.

The other Cowgirl hit of the game came from Chloe Gomez who singled up the middle in the third inning.

Minnesota (38-19) used three pitchers in the game with starter Jacie Hambrick taking the loss to fall to 7-7 on the year. Hambrick allowed one earned run on one hit with two walks and one strikeout in 2.0 innings.

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