Three shutouts before rain takes over Thursday at Southland Softball Tournament

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL

Sam Houston State, Nicholls and McNeese log shutout victories

NATCHITOCHES, La. – Although Mother Nature finally had her way, three of four games were finalized in day two of the Southland Conference Tournament on Lady Demon Diamond.

Top-seeded Sam Houston State began the day with a 7-0 win over previously unbeaten No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana. The Lady Lions attempted to rebound from the loss but were later eliminated after a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of No. 3 McNeese in Game Seven of the tournament. No. 2 Nicholls also put forth an impressive tournament-opening performance with a 9-0 five-inning win over No. 6 Northwestern State. The Lady Demons’ loss dropped them into an elimination matchup against No. 4 Stephen F. Austin where play was suspended in the middle of the third inning due to harsh weather conditions.

Game Five | No. 1 Sam Houston State – 7 vs. No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana – 0 (Box Score)

After opening day one of tournament play with a pair of wins, No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana pushed No. 1 Sam Houston State to three scoreless innings in Game Five of the Southland Tournament. The Bearkats went down in order through each of the first three innings before finding life with five runs in the bottom of the fourth.

In the fourth inning, with runners on first and second, Southeastern Louisiana’s Alley McDonald walked Kyndal Kutac to load the bases for Sam Houston State. Ashley Goetz proceeded to knock a single up the middle, bringing in Megan McDonald home for the first run of the game. The run brought energy to the SHSU offense as the Taylar Fuselier then hit a two-RBI single to left field that placed the Bearkats ahead 3-0. With two outs on the board, catcher Bailey White cranked a double to right center, bringing Fuselier and Goetz home to put Sam Houston State ahead 5-0. Southeastern Louisiana made a pitching change, bringing in Tanner Wright to help the Lady Lions escape the inning.

Kutac provided a RBI-single to left field in order to bring Brooke Malia home and extend SHSU’s lead to 6-0. The final run of the day came in the sixth inning as Regan Dunn scored on a groundout to second base from Bailey White.

Ali McCoy led the Lady Lions with two hits in the game, followed by Jaquelyn Ramon and Mima Doucet who each added one. Ramon provided SLU’s lone stolen base in the sixth inning after bunting to get on first base.

Bearkats’ ace and 2019 Southland Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year Taylor McLeod retired 11 Lady Lion batters to improve to a 19-8 record with her 10th shutout of the season. McLeod has now delivered 18 complete-game performances on the year.

Game Six | No. 2 Nicholls – 9 vs. No. 6 Northwestern State – 0 (Box Score)

Nicholls left nothing to question opening up their 2019 Southland Conference Tournament with a dominant 9-0 win over Northwestern State Wednesday morning. The game was decided in five innings as the Colonels capitalized with a five-run fourth-inning performance. Megan Landry was credited with the win, improving to a 26-10 record on the season. Landry’s performance also boosted her to 79 career wins, breaking a 34-year old Nicholls program record.

The Colonels got on the board early with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Kali Clement got things started for Nicholls’ offense with a leadoff double in the second. After advancing to third base on an NSU error, Clement was brought home on a sacrifice fly from Caitlin Garcia for the Colonels first run of the day. On the next play and with a runner on first, Emma Holland faced nine pitches before being walked. The Colonels then loaded the bases before Samantha Mracich swatted a RBI single to put Nicholls up 2-0.

Nicholls added two more runs on back-to-back plays in the third inning, doubling the score at 4-0 before Northwestern State recorded its third out. Landry took the circle in the fourth inning and retired the Lady Demons in order. Mracich stepped up to the plate with a leadoff single down the left field line in the bottom of the fourth for the Colonels. Amanda Gianelloni provided a bunt on the next play and advanced to second on Northwestern State error. Kasey Frederick singled up the middle on the following play before Mracich and Gianelloni scored on a Lady Demon error for two more runs. Garcia provided the stamp for Nicholls with a three-run homer to left center that same inning, placing the Colonels ahead 9-0.

The Lady Demons finished the game with four hits, including a pair of singles in the fifth inning but were unable to turn any into runs. Elise Vincent led the way for Northwestern State with three hits on as many plate appearances.

The win marks Nicholls’ 13th shutout and third five-inning victory of the season. Landry dealt five strikeouts sealing her 25th complete game performance this year.

Game Seven | No. 3 McNeese – vs. No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana – (Box Score)

With elimination implications at stake, No. 3 McNeese sealed a 1-0 win over No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana Wednesday afternoon. The Cowgirls were led by sophomore Caroline Settle who dealt two strikeouts in her second shutout victory of the season. The Lady Lions were led by Jaquelyn Ramon and Rebecca Skains who combined for SLU’s only hits of the contest.

Each team was held scoreless through the first three innings despite back-to-back singles from McNeese’s Demi Boudreaux and Cori McCrary in the bottom of the second inning.

The fourth inning provided the game’s only run as the Cowgirls placed runners on first and second before entering Alayis Seneca to pinch run for Aubree Turbeville. McCrary then launched a single into center field, allowing Seneca to cross home plate.

Southeastern Louisiana challenged in the final two innings with a pair of hits, but its hopes of a comeback were dashed after a groundout play to conclude the game and eliminate the Lady Lions from postseason contention.

The win pushes the Cowgirls into a Game 10 matchup against the winner of No. 4 Stephen F. Austin and No. 6 Northwestern State, currently set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Game Eight | No. 4 Stephen F. Austin – vs. No. 6 Northwestern State

The Ladyjacks and the Lady Demons were able to get 2.5 innings in the books before play was suspended due to impending weather. After attempting to wait out the conditions, tournament administrators decided to postpone the game until 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, where the two teams will resume where they left off.

Prior to the weather delay, Northwestern State held a 1-0 lead over Stephen F. Austin in the bottom of the third inning.

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