Cowgirls taking it day by day, even temperament key to successful start

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2023

By Warrren Arceneaux

American Press

A dominant weekend that included three consecutive shutouts in a series sweep of Texas A&M-Commerce has the McNeese State Cowgirls in sole possession of the Southland Conference lead.

McNeese (22-10, 6-0 SLC), which has won eight of its last nine games, is two games ahead of second-place Southeastern Louisiana (25-8). The Cowgirls have allowed one run in six conference games. This weekend, the Cowgirls won the first two games against last-place TAMU-Commerce (5-24, 1-5) via the mercy rule before completing the sweep with a 1-0 win.

Ashley Vallejo (6-7, 3.08 ERA) and Shaelyn Sanders (3-0, 1.18) threw matching 10-strikeout shutouts in the final two games of the series. Ace Whitney Tate (10-2, 1.61) threw a shutout in the series opener.

Head coach James Landreneau said Monday that the perfect start to league play won’t mean much if the Cowgirls don’t focus on one game at a time.

“The hardest thing is not to look at the standings and focus on the team,” Landreneau said. “You can throw records out the window when you play a conference series. Somebody’s going to play you well, that’s what we’ve seen over the years. Can we have a team that’s consistent no matter who we’re playing or where that team ranks in the standings? If you start looking at standings, you get away from yourself and start to focus on things you have no control over.”

Landreneau said he likes the approach his team takes to getting better each day.

“There is not a lot of dwelling on good days or bad days,” he said. “They have really gotten away from trying to attack an entire week and have tried to attack each day. What I’ve seen is that the energy level has increased over the last three weeks, and the consistency has increased over the last three weeks. That is what I’’m excited about. Up until this point, it feels like we are trending in the right direction.”

The Cowgirls return to play tonight with a nonconference game at Sam Houston State (13-21) in Huntsville, Texas, before traveling to play Lamar (10-21, 3-3) for a weekend SLC series.

McNeese is led by Alayis Seneca (.367, 6 RBIs), Chloe Gomez (.354, 12 RBIs), Rylie Bouvier (.329, 1 HR, 15 RBIs), Reese Reyna (.325, 14 RBIs) and Mariana Torres (.324, 2 HR, 24 RBIs). Crislyne Moreno (.265) has driven in 13 runs.

The Bearkats, who are coming off a three-game sweep of Utah Valley, are led by Jordan Peno (.323). Brailey Wasik (.280, 17 RBIs) and Brodie Quinlan (.240, 19 RBIs) have five home runs apiece. In the circle, the Bearkats use Daryn Grams (4-4, 2.59), Emma Guindon (4-4, 3.76) and Regan Dunn (3-4, 3.96).

Sam Houston State has won four of the last five meetings.

“I’m excited about getting ourselves ready this week,” Landreneau said. “It’s a quick turnaround and we play a good Sam Houston team. Their record does not reflect the quality of team they are. They played a quality schedule, them and Lamar. Both teams are playing better as of late. Lamar just came in and took a series from Northwestern (State).”