HAMMOND – McNeese State scored three runs over the last two innings for an 8-6 Southland Conference victory over Southeastern Louisiana Thursday night in the series opener between the two teams.
The victory was the fifth in a row for the Cowboys and it secures them a spot in the league's post season tournament which begins next Wednesday in San Marcos, TX on the campus of Texas State.
The Cowboys are now tied for third place in the league standings with Texas State (losers to Northwestern State on Thursday) and UT Arlington (winners over A&M-Corpus Christi), all at 17-14.
Southeastern dropped to 18-13 in the SLC with the loss but remains in second place in the standings behind Sam Houston State which is 23-8.
Central Arkansas is now 15-16 after losing to Sam Houston while Northwestern State, A&M-Corpus and SFA are all 14-17.
McNeese is 24-26 overall and the Lions are 34-19.
The teams play another game Friday at 6 p.m. and the third and final matchup Saturday at 2 p.m.
Trailing Southeastern by a single run (6-5) heading into the eighth inning the Cowboys got a single run in the eighth and then two in the ninth. A sacrifice bunt by Nick Eubanks plated Renny Weber with the run in the eighth, Weber having walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Collin Todd and then to third on a Lion throwing error.
The Cowboys got two runs on a hit and an error in the ninth. Taylor Drake led off the inning with a pinch hit double and then Skylar Barrentine – running for Drake – scored on a throwing error. A sacrifice fly by Connor Lloyd plated Andrew Guillotte with the second run of the inning.
Tyler Parke, the fourth Cowboy pitcher, collected the victory, hurling 1.2 innings of one-hit, no-run ball while striking out two. Michael Clemens had started the game and went six innings, giving up all six runs (only two earned) along with eight hits.
The Cowboys had seven hits in the game with Seth Granger leading the way and extending his hitting streak to 11 games as he went two for five and drove in a run.
McNeese had taken a 5-0 lead into the fourth but the Lions had come up with four runs in the bottom of the inning and then added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to tie the score.
Granger scored McNeese's first inning run, opening the game with a single. He went to second on a passed ball, to third on a ground out and he scored on an infield out by Renny Weber.
In the second the Cowboys scored four runs on four hits. Guillotte, Granger and Lloyd all singled in runs in that inning.
Reliefer Dylan Hills was the game's losing pitcher, giving up three runs on one hit in two innings on the mound.