McNeese downs to Notre Dame to advance to program’s first NCAA Softball Regional Final

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EVANSTON, Ill. — McNeese softball made school history Saturday night by advancing to its first regional final with a 3-1 win over Notre Dame.

The Cowgirls will face Northwestern at 3 p.m. Sunday on ESPN+ and McNeese will have to defeat the Wildcats twice to advance to the Super Regionals. The winner of this regional will advance to play the winner of the Tempe, Arizona Regional May 27-29.

Earlier Saturday, following almost a four hour rain delay, McNeese (40-20) fell to Northwestern 17-3 in five innings sending the Cowgirls to an elimination game against Notre Dame, at team the Cowgirls run-ruled 11-1 on Friday.

“I’m proud of our kids,” said head coach James Landreneau. “It was a long day and to be able to respond to adversity following a tough loss to Northwestern and then to beat Notre Dame in an elimination game just shows you the toughness of our kids. It was also nice to see some timely hitting and good teams find a way to capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes.”

Following four and a half scoreless inning and the first triple play in program history in the top of the fifth inning that shifted the momentum and sparked the Cowgirls offense, McNeese got on the board on a leadoff pinch hit solo home run by Adriana Ramirez to start the bottom half of the fifth. The long ball Ramirez’s fourth of the season. McNeese added another run when Perrin scored from third off the first of five Notre Dame errors to take a 2-0 lead.

McNeese added an insurance run in the sixth inning when pinch runner Erin Ardoin stole third and came home on throwing error in an attempt to get Ardoin out at third, instead the ball ended up in left field, allowing Ardoin to score to extend the Cowgirl lead to 3-0.

“Adriana put a big swing on a pitch and we were able to add some insurance runs for Vallejo, who bounced back following her outing against Northwestern and we needed this solid performance from her against a powerful Notre Dame offense,” Landreneau said.

Notre Dame (40-12) avoided the shutout with a solo home run by Joley Mitchell I the seventh inning before Cowgirl starter Ashley Vallejo got Notre Dame to line out for the first two outs and with a runner at second base and the tying run at the plate, got a ground out to second base to end the game.

Vallejo (18-8), who suffered the loss to Northwestern earlier in the day, bounced back and threw a five hit complete game, allowing one run, one walk and struck out three.

For the second time in the tournament, McNeese outhit Notre Dame 7-5. Ramirez, Reyna, and Perrin all picked up two hits apiece.

The win marks the third 40-win season under sixth year head coach James Landreneau.

SCORING
B5: Adriana Ramirez with a leadoff solo homerun on the first she sees in her at bat (McN 1, ND 0)
A Notre Dame error allows Toni Perrin to score from third (McN 2, ND 0)
B6: Pinch runner Erin Ardoin steals third and come home on a throwing error (McN 3, ND 0)
T7: Notre Dame gets on the board with a leadoff home run (McN 3, ND 1)

GAME NOTES
McNeese advances to its first regional finals with the 3-1 win over Notre Dame
McNeese turned the program’s first triple play (F8643) in the fifth inning
It’s the third 40-win season for sixth year head coach James Landreneau

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