McNeese St. falls in Southland Tourney opener

SAN MARCOS, TX – McNeese State slipped into the losers bracket of the Southland Conference baseball tournament here Wednesday morning after dropping a 6-2 decision to UT Arlington in the events opener.

The Cowboys will now go on to play the loser of the Sam Houston-TAM-Corpus Christi game on Thursday at 9 a.m.  Another loss puts the Cowboys out of the tournament.

"I thought that we had our chances particularly in the second inning when we had runners on second and third and only one out," said Cowboy head coach Terry Burrows.  "We didn't swing the bats too good except for the home run (two run shot by Nick Eubanks)."

In that second inning with UTA having scored a run in the bottom of the first inning, Collin Todd led off the frame for the Cowboys with a single and was followed by a single from Nick Eubanks.  Both advanced a base on a bunt sacrifice by Michael Sullivan but then Matt Henry struckout and Tyler Klouser grounded out to end the threat.

McNeese only had two runners left on base the rest of the way.

Now 24-29 on the season, the Cowboys had swept UTA in a three game series only a couple of weeks ago in Lake Charles.  UTA went to 33-23 with Wednesday's win.

Righthander Blake Ware started the game for the Cowboys and did a good job through six innings.  The Mavericks scored single runs in each of the first three innings but the Cowboys came back with two runs on a homer by Eubanks in the fourth and the game went into the seventh with UTA holding a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Mavericks scored a run on two hits and a Cowboy error and came back with two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a hit and another McNeese error.

Ware was relieved after one out in the eighth, having given up 10 hits and five earned runs while walking two and striking out four.  Trey McGee got the final two outs in the eighth, giving up a hit and a run.

Lance Day was the game's winning pitcher, hurling seven innings and giving up six hits and two runs while walking two and striking out five.

Maverick closer Adam Boydston came on to pitch the final two innings and didn't give up a hit or run.

Ware's record evened at 7-7 with the loss while Day recorded his 11th win against three setbacks.

Eubanks with two hits including his second home run of the season led the Cowboys with two hits in four trips to the plate along with two RBIs.  Renny Weber also had two hits and the other safeties were collected by Todd and Klouser.

Michael Guerra did most of the damage for UTA at the plate as he was four for four with three RBIs.  He belted a home run, hit two doubles and a single.

For Thursday's game, Burrows said that Tyler McDonald (4-3, 3.18 ERA) will start on the mound for the Cowboys.

McNeese is missing one of its key pitchers at the tournament as freshman Michael Clemens ( 3-3, 3.43 ERA, six saves) did not make the trip because of a shoulder injury.