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One BIG Win - McNeese St. Cowgirls take down #15 LSU 4-3

Apr 21, 2023 03:25PM ● By Jessica Waldrop
By Jim Gazzolo

Not all wins are the same.

With already one statement victory on the season, the McNeese softball team was looking for yet another, one even bigger to them.

Call it personal.

Since 2014 a growing softball program had answered all its questions.

The Cowgirls had beaten a defending national champ. They had knocked off a No. 1 team. They had made it to a regional championship.

But not since 2014 had they beaten LSU, the monster two hours down the road. That’s 3,296 days of hearing you are doing well but…

LSU is the program that all others in the state, in just about every sport, are measured against. It is the beast that rules the bayou.

When LSU comes to town McNeese teams are often overshadowed. Fans wear as much purple as they do blue and gold.

And head coach James Landreneau, who has accomplished so much in his time taking the Cowgirls to new levels, had never beaten LSU.

That was until Tuesday night.

With plenty of Cowgirl and LSU fans at Joe Miller Field, McNeese knocked off the 15th-ranked team in the nation, 4-3.

The record crowd saw the Cowgirls do it the hard way also, spotting LSU to a 3-0 lead before ever coming to the plate. That only made the victory even more thrilling.

The win not only shows just how far this team has come but also how far it might be able to go.

“Nights like tonight can help the program grow on the national level,” said Landreneau.

For the past few years, as the McNeese softball brand continued to grow, Landreneau has said playing good teams close is one thing, beating them is the next step.

Call Tuesday a giant leap.

It was the second time this season the Cowgirls have knocked off a top-15 team at home this season. They beat No. 9 Washington earlier.

Those wins prove the relevance of the softball program at McNeese.

But the win is more than just good for softball. It boosts the image of an athletic program trying desperately to get to the next level. This is just another way to spotlight the changes taking place on campus.

Being able to play against this type of competition and do it while hosting LSU in front of a big crowd, is just what bigger conferences are looking for when they go searching for new teams.

With more conference realignment coming sooner rather than later, this looks good on the McNeese resume.

It also doesn’t hurt when it comes to the recruiting wars in the region.

None of that matters much to the players who made the upset possible. For them it was beating LSU that mattered most.

For the Cowgirls it was personal.

Jim Gazzolo covers McNeese athletics and is the host of Poke Nation on CBS-Lake Charles.