After opening the season with a 4-0 start with wins over Virginia and preseason 20th ranked Tulsa last weekend at the Cowgirl Classic, McNeese softball cracked the first USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll of the season, coming in at no. 24. This marks the first time in program history the Cowgirls are ranked in a major poll. The Cowgirls picked up 80 votes in the poll. The poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches with one vote representing each of the NCAA’s 32 Division I conferences.
McNeese did rank as high as No. 6 on March 20, 2012 in the softball Mid-Major poll under former head coach Mike Smith who is the current head coach at Ole Miss.
A few hours later on Tuesday, the FPN (Fastpitch News) released their poll which has the Cowgirls ranked 23rd.
“It’s always humbling to be recognized by your peers,” said head coach James Landreneau. “I’m excited for our players and the respect they’ve been shown. Our main focus is to play one game at a time and become the team we believe we’re capable of becoming.”
McNeese (4-0) will return home Wednesday to host Louisiana Tech in a single game beginning at 5 p.m. The contest will be the last home game until March 13 when the Cowgirls host Houston.
Following Wednesday’s game, McNeese will hit the road for their second of four regular season tournaments at the Southern Miss Black and Gold Tournament this weekend.
Sophomores Alexandria Saldivar and Brenique Wright will lead the Cowgirls at the plate against the Lady Techsters. Saldivar has a .750 batting average with three hits in four at bats while Wright has a .571 average with four hits in seven at bats, one home run, one triple and a team high four stolen bases. Junior Justyce McClain has seven hits in 10 at bats for a .500 average.
Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week, redshirt freshman Caroline Settle leads the pitching staff with a 3-0 record along with a 0.57 ERA in 12.1 innings. Settle is coming off an opening weekend that saw her pick up a win over Virginia and two wins over then ranked no. 20 Tulsa. Settle has given up six hits, four runs (one earned) with seven strikeouts.
Louisiana Tech enters the game with a 1-4 record at the Puerta Vallarta College Challenge over the weekend with its lone win coming in a 3-2 victory over James Madison in the last game of the tournament. La. Tech will face Southeastern La. Tuesday night before heading to Cowgirl Diamond.
Karlee Jensen leads La. Tech with a .500 average with six hits. Bailey Allen has a 2.00 ERA without a record in seven innings pitched while Preslee Gallaway has the only victory with a 3.34 ERA in 14.2 innings.
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