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Southland Conference

McNeese drops Nicholls to win SLC

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CONWAY, Ark. – McNeese became back-to-back Southland Conference Softball Tournament champions with an 8-0 run rule victory over Nicholls early Saturday at Farris Field in Conway, Ark.

It was a scoreless game until the fourth inning when the Cowgirls began their hitting explosion. Centerfielder Tori Yanitor knocked a two-run homerun to left field to put the top-seeded team up 3-0. Just three batters later, second baseman Carleigh Chaumont blasted a two-run homer of her own to left center to make it 5-0. Tournament MVP Erika Piancastelli had crossed the plate before the two homeruns after shortstop Hailey Drew had singled to left field.

An inning later, McNeese combined for three more runs to finish the game. With bases loaded, Yanitor sent a single on a 0-2 count to left center, which plated two runners and set up the game-winning run on third. Chaumont doubled to left center to score Drew and end the game in five innings.

All-Tournament selection Rachel Smith allowed just three hits in 5.0 innings of work, striking out three and walking two. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by Cowgirl teammates Yanitor, Chaumont, Drew and right fielder Justyce McClain.

The Colonels’ pitcher Megan Landry, first baseman Gretchen Morgan and catcher Veronica Villafranco were named to the All-Tournament Team along with Central Arkansas’ right fielder Morgan Felts and pitcher Kayla Gomness and Northwestern State’s first baseman Brittney Jones.

The Cowgirls won all three of their conference tournament games in run-rule fashion after defeating Sam Houston State 9-1 Wednesday and the Colonels on Thursday 11-2. They are the first Southland team to claim consecutive regular season and tournament championships in the same season two years in a row since ULM accomplished the feat in 1985-86.

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