McNeese opens NCAA Tournament with run-rule win over Notre Dame

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EVANSTON, Il. – McNeese softball scored early and often here Friday in its 11-1 run-rule NCAA Tournament opening game win over No. 21 Notre Dame at the Evanston Region.

The Cowgirls will advance to Saturday’s noon Central/1 p.m. Eastern game against Northwestern, a 9-2 winner over Oakland. Northwestern is the top seed in the tournament and it will be the first meeting between the two teams. The game will broadcast on ESPN+.

McNeese (39-19) outhit the Fighting Irish 13-5, on hit shy of tying its game high 14 against Lamar in April. The double figure runs is the seventh time the Cowgirls score 10 or more runs this season.

“I thought we were very patient getting pitches to hit up the middle of the field,” said head coach James Landreneau. “We did a great job of executing. It’s just one of those things we were hitting the ball hard and everything was going our way.”

Jil Poullard led the Cowgirls at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two RBI and scored two runs. Kendall Talley, Kaylee Lopez, Chloe Gomez, and Toni Perrin all collected two hits apiece.

McNeese opened the game with a 10 run first inning on eight hits including four straight hits with two being doubles to start the game. The Cowgirls didn’t stop there as they batted around and chased Notre Dame’s (39-11) starter who gave up five runs on five hits in 1/3 of an inning.

Notre Dame scored its only run of the game in the bottom of the second inning on a RBI single up the middle but the Cowgirl defense was solid the rest of the game including in the third inning when the Irish had runners on second and third with one out.

McNeese added another run in the fifth when Talley and Poullard hit back-to-back singles that sent Talley to third. Poullard then attempted to steal second base but got caught in a run down between first and second but in the meantime, Talley crossed home plate before Poullard was tagged out, allowing the run to count.

Tate (13-9) picked up her ninth straight win, allowing one run on five hits and didn’t allow a walk in the complete game victory.

“Whitney Tate did an outstanding job, throwing 50 pitches today and she was able to keep us settled in, ground ball after ground ball and our defense started to settle in and made plays. Definitely a good way to start and its probably one of the best innings I’ve ever coached in my life.”

T1: Cowgirls take a 2-0 lead on a double to left center by Moreno that scores Talley and Poullard (McN 2, ND 0)
Lopez with a long fly ball off the centerfield wall scores Moreno (McN 3, ND 0)
A Gomez single to left center and advanced to 2nd on the throw moved Lopez to third. Notre Dame made a pitching change trailing 3-0 with one out in the T1
Reyna drew a bases loaded walk then Perrin with a single to left center scores two (McN 5, ND 0)
Talley reaches on an error that allowed Reese Reyna to score (McN 6, ND 0)
Poullard with a single to left center scores Perrin and Talley (McN 8, ND 0)
Lopez with a single through the left side scores Moreno and Lopez (McN 10, ND 0)

B2: Notre Dame scores on a ball that goes off Whitney Tate’s glove allowing the runner from third to score (McN 10, ND 1)

T5: Talley crossed the plate before Poullard makes the third out on a run-down between first and second (McN 11, ND 1)

• The win is McNeese’s eighth straight win and have won 13 of its last 15 games.
• McNeese batted around in the first inning and scored 10 runs on eight hits and took advantage of two Notre Dame errors.
• The Cowgirls’ defense came up big in the third inning by holding the Irish scoreless with two runners on
• McNeese outhit Notre Dame 13-5
• Jil Poullard led McNeese with three hits while Kendall Talley, Kaylee Lopez, Chloe Gomez, and Toni Perrin all picking up two apiece.
• Whitney Tate improved to 13-9 on the season with it being her ninth straight win. Tate gave up one run on five hits in her eighth complete game this season.

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