LAKE CHARLES, La. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats could not right the ship on Saturday as the league-favorite McNeese Cowgirls completed a weekend sweep with a pair of wins at Cowgirl Diamond.

McNeese (19-10, 6-0 SLC) struck early and often throughout the day, while the Bearkat (12-14, 3-3 SLC) offense could not get going in Game 1 and then struggled to capitalize on early opportunities in Game 2.

Things do not get any easier for the Bearkats on Tuesday as they head to Waco to take on No. 14 Baylor. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.

Game 1 – Box Score
McNeese 8, Sam Houston 0 (5 innings)
Sam Houston fell behind early and could not recover as the Cowgirls clinched the series with an 8-0 win in the first game of the day.

It was the second consecutive day that McNeese needed just five frames to finish things off, and they started it off early with a pair of homers in the first inning before closing it out in the fifth. Erika Piacastelli had one of those homers and drove in three runs in the game, while Hailey Drew had three hits and a pair of RBI.

Kaitlynn Dawson got the start and took the loss for Sam Houston, allowing seven runs – six earned – in 2.2 innings of work. Casey Kauder entered in relief, allowing just one unearned run in 2.0 frames.

The Kats finished with just two hits offensively as Megan Crosby and Dawson had a hit apiece.

KEY INNINGS
Bottom 1st
The Cowgirls jumped out in front in their first trip to the plate. Erika Piancastelli gave McNeese a quick lead with a two-run homer just three batters into the inning, and three batters later Alexandria Saldivar upped the lead to 4-0 with a two-run homer of her own.

Bottom 3rd
Three more runs came across in the third for McNeese, all with two outs. The Cowgirls loaded up the bases on a single, walk and a Bearkat error. Taylor Schmidt picked up the first RBI with a bases-loaded walk before Hailey Drew delivered one of her three hits in the game, a 2-run single that made it a 7-0 game.

Bottom 5th
The Cowgirls closed it out in abbreviated fashion two innings later when Marisah Taunton came across with the eighth McNeese run of the game on the second error of the inning by the Kats.

Game 2 – Box Score
McNeese 7, Sam Houston 0
The Bearkats finally got the bats going with seven hits in the game, but again the Cowgirls staked themselves to an early lead and did not let up in completing the weekend sweep with a 7-0 victory.

Baylee Corbello struck out seven and kept the Kats off the board in a complete-game effort to earn her fourth win of the season. On the other side, Lindsey McLeod went the distance for Sam Houston, striking out four in falling to 4-3 on the season.

Three Bearkats had multi-hit efforts in the series finale, with Megan Crosby and Codi Carpenter each going 2-for-4 while Tiffany Thompson finished 2-for-3.

KEY INNINGS
Bottom 1st
After Sam Houston stranded a pair of runners in the first, Piancastelli smashed her second home run of the day to give the Cowgirls the early lead. Drew opened the frame with a single and two batters later the Cowgirl slugger brought in both runs when she launched out a 2-2 pitch.

Top 2nd
The Bearkats had the chance to answer with a great scoring opportunity in the second, getting their first two hitters on base via a bunt single by Thompson and an error that allowed Katie Andrie to reach. But Corbello responded by striking out both Samantha Belongia and Megan McDonald before getting Tori Koerselman to line out to shortstop to end the threat.

Top 3rd
One inning later Sam Houston found itself with another golden opportunity after singles by Crosby and Carpenter had had runners on the corners with just one out in the inning. But the Kats could not capitalize as Ashley Goetz grounded out and Thompson struck out to strand two more base runners.

Bottom 3rd
McNeese did not let the Kats off the hook a second time, though, as they struck for four runs in the bottom half of the inning. They loaded the bases with nobody out, setting it up for Corbello to deliver a 2-RBI single. A Bearkat error on the play allowed a third run to score on the play and Tori Yanitor capped the inning by bringing in Corbello with a sacrifice fly to make it a 6-0 game.

Bottom 4th
A two-out rally gave McNeese one more run in the fourth as Justyce McClain singled and stole second to get into scoring position. Piancastelli then singled to center field to score her, giving the Cowgirls a comfortable 7-0 edge.