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Courtesy: UTSA Athletics

McNeese State topples Roadrunners in Southland Tournament opener, 7-1

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 05/13/2011
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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HUNTSVILLE — After taking a 1-0 lead on junior Nikki Goff’s sixth home run of the season, UTSA allowed seven unanswered runs in the fifth and sixth innings with two outs and that gave No. 4 seed McNeese State a 7-1 victory in the Southland Conference Tournament opener on Thursday at Bearkat Softball Complex.

Kayla Shepherd retired the first seven hitters she faced before Goff lined a full-count pitch over the fence in left center to give the Roadrunners (27-26) an early 1-0 lead.

UTSA missed out on two golden opportunities to add to the advantage in the fourth and fifth frames.

Senior Kristin Kappler led off the fourth with a double right-center field gap and was lifted for pinch runner Morgan Luksa. The junior reached third while Caitlyn Ivy moved to second after a single through the right side and a groundout. A walk loaded the bases, but a pop up ended the threat.

The Birds then left a pair in scoring position an inning later when back-to-back bunt singles and a sacrifice put runners on second and third with one out. However, a pop up and a diving stop by second baseman Katie Roux kept UTSA off the board.

The missed opportunities proved costly in the bottom of the stanza when the Cowgirls (30-27) scored four times, highlighted by Molly Guidry’s three-run homer to left with two down.

McNeese State put the game out of reach one frame later with three unearned runs with two out.

"McNeese hit the ball well today," interim head coach Stephanie Hughes said. "They came up with hits in big situations and we didn't. We had a couple big opportunities early that we missed out on and that hurt us."

Shepherd (19-16) went the distance for the Cowgirls, giving up just a half dozen hits with a pair of walks and seven strikeouts.

Meanwhile, senior Emily Humpal (10-5) allowed four runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings.

UTSA will play in an elimnation game at 2:30 p.m. (time moved back due to Thursday rains) on Friday against No. 2 UT Arlington (33-24).

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