The McNeese Cowgirls opened up the NCAA Seattle Regional with a 13-inning 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday night.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Minnesota’s Autumn Pease showed why she was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year in the first inning as she struck out Reese Reyna swinging and Alayis Seneca struck out looking.
In the bottom of the second, the Golden Gophers got on the scoreboard.
With two outs, Sydney Strelow was hit by a pitch and then was joined on the base paths by a single up the middle by Maddy Ehike. Strelow then scored on an error by Reyna.
McNeese tied the game in the third inning.
Seneca laced a triple to right field and then scored on a fly out by Reyna. Chloe Gomez then hit a single through the rigth side but Pease got out of the jam by getting Crislyne Moreno and Emily Phillips to both fly out to centerfield.
Minnesota retook the lead with a solo home run by Kayla Chavez.
McNeese answered right back with two-runs in the fourth inning.
Mariana Torres led off with a single to left field and then Rylie Bouvier drove them both in with a two-run home run.
In the bottom of the fifth, Minnesota’s Nani Valencia came in to pinch hit for Delanie Cox and she doubled to centerfield. McNeese’s Ashley Vallejo got out of the jam as she got the next three batters out.
In the bottom of the sixth, Minnesota’s Jess Oakland led off with a single and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Oakland tied the game on a single up the middle by Taylor Krapf.
The Golden Gophers appeared primed to take the lead on a double by Maddy Ehlke but pinch runner Billi Connell was thrown out at home after a well-executed relay throw.
McNeese threatened in the seventh as Seneca got a one-out single and then stole second base. Seneca then advanced to third on a single by Gomez but was thrown out trying to cross home plate.
Minnesota came close to winning the game in the bottom of the 10th inning. Golden Gophers’ Amani Bradley got on with a walk, advanced to second on a ground out and then to third base on a passed ball. McNeese managed to get out of the inning with a groundout.
McNeese led off the 11th inning with a single by Emily Phillips but were unable to bring her home as the Cowgirls stranded her on second base.
In the 13th inning, the Cowgirls would finally strike.
Phillips hit a one-out double to right centerfield and then scored on a double down the right field line by Torres. Bouvier then hit a single into center which scored Torres.
Minnesota’s Natalie DenHartog led off the bottom of the 13th with a solo home run. After back-to-back outs, Ehlike hit a double and then the bases were loaded with an intentional walk. Whitney Tate ended the game as she was able to get Burnett to fly out.
BIG NUMBER: 5
The McNeese Cowgirls had five different players record at least two hits in the victory. Alaysis Seneca, Kylie Bouvier and Emily Phillips each had three hits, while Chloe Gomez and Mariana Torres chipped in two each.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: EMILY PHILLIPS & RYLIE BOUVIER
McNeese’s catcher and third baseman came up clutch in extra innings in Friday’s victory. Phillips went 3-for-5 and scored the go-ahead run in the 13th inning. Bouvier meanwhile went 3-for-6 with a home run and 3 RBI, including driving a run in the 13th inning.
UP NEXT: McNeese (45-14) will play winner or loser of Northern Colorado-Washington at the Seattle Regional on Saturday.