LAKE CHARLES – The Nicholls State University softball team smashed eight home runs in Friday’s doubleheader against McNeese State, but each team earned a run-rule victory as the Colonels took the opener, 10-2, before the Cowgirls won the second, 14-5, at Joe Miller Field.

The split kept Nicholls in first place at 12-5 in the Southland Conference and 27-12 overall. McNeese improved to 29-15 overall and 11-6 in the SLC. The series concludes at noon today.

Nicholls was powered by three players with multi-homer days, led by three by Kali Clement. The junior had two in the first game, both solo shots, and started the scoring in Game 2 with a two-run homer in the first inning. She also doubled, ending the day with four hits and four RBIs. Kasey Frederick and Moriah Strother homered in each game, and Samantha Dares had a three-run bomb in the first contest.

While the offense provided more than enough run support in the opener, Megan Landry (15-6) did not need much, allowing just two runs in four innings of work. She surrendered three hits but walked six. Alexis LaBure pitched the final inning, striking out two.

With no score after one, Clement and Strother homered in the second off of Alexsandra Flores (13-7) for a 2-0 lead. Flores left the game in the third after two runners reached base, but Frederick greeted Caroline Settle with a three-run homer. The next batter, Clement, went over the scoreboard for her second trip around the bases, and a 6-0 Colonel advantage.

Landry ran into trouble in the fourth inning, walking a run in with one out. She then got a liner to third for the second out, and McNeese added one more on a sacrifice fly by Justyce McClain. The next batter, Erika Piancastelli, who Nicholls walked four times on the day, popped up to shallow center and Emma Holland chased it down from second to end the inning.

In the fifth inning, Amanda Gianelloni drove in a run on a single before Dares’ three-run shot made it a 10-2 game. LaBure closed it out with two strikeouts and a groundout.

For the nightcap, the score was tied at 4 in the fourth before McNeese put together an unfathomable two-out rally that resulted in 10 runs. Clement doubled and scored on a Gianelloni single in the fifth inning, but the Colonels were unable to cut into the deficit any further as the Cowgirls returned the favor with a five-inning win.

Amanda Holliday (4-2) took the loss, allowing six earned in one inning of relief on three hits. Holliday and LaBure totaled eight walks in the game. LaBure re-entered and finished with seven earned on eight hits.

Ashley Koncir (4-0) tossed all five innings for McNeese, allowing five runs on seven hits. Clement was the lone Colonel with two hits in the game. After her homer in the first, Frederick followed with one in the third for a 3-0 advantage.

McNeese answered with four runs in the bottom half, helped by three Colonel errors. But Nicholls tied it back up on Strother’s second solo homer of the day. The Cowgirls then batted around in the fourth to put the run rule into effect.

The five home runs for the Colonels in Game 1 was a season high.