McNeese Baseball hosts UT Arlington, Saturday Feb. 22

Final Score: McNeese 6 UT Arlington 5

by Hunter Bower

LAKE CHARLES – The McNeese State baseball team was looking at extra innings déjà vu all over again Saturday until pinch hitter Lucas Quary delivered a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning to propel the Cowboys to a 6-5 victory over UT Arlington at Cowboy Diamond.

The win ties the weekend series after the Mavericks edged out McNeese (5-2) in the first game, 9-8, in a 19-inning thriller the night before.

The game was tied 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning when pinch hitter Matt Gallier was intentionally walked to load the bases after centerfielder Jackson Gooch and shortstop Connor Lloyd had stolen second and third.  The Mavericks went to the bullpen hoping that closer Jacob Moreland would send both teams into extra innings for the second straight night.  Two pitches later Moreland watched as Quary knocked the ball down the left line, allowing Gooch to score from third and give the Cowboys the win.

"You have to give credit to our team because that was a game, that if our guys would have had the memory of last night's loss in the back of their mind, I don't think we would have been able to come back and win due to UTA's toughness and physicality," said head coach Justin Hill.  "Credit to their team who played really well and came out aggressive today."

Right fielder Matt Williams paced McNeese with three hits and one RBI while designated hitter Clay Payne went 2-for-2 with 2 RBI.  The Cowboys have now recorded 10 or more hits in five straight games.

Reliever Tyler Erickson (2-0) picked up the victory in relief after coming into the game in the top of the eighth inning and recording five outs. Starter Michael Clemens allowed five runs on 13 hits, one walk and struck out two in 7.0 innings.

UTA (1-5) struck first in the opening frame, knocking in three runs on five hits in the leadoff inning putting the Cowboys in an early hole that at first seemed impossible to get out.

McNeese slowly responded back with runs in the first and second innings off of sacrifice flies from Gooch and Payne to cut the lead to two runs.

The Mavericks extended their lead in the fifth inning to three runs while the Cowboys answered with a run in the sixth cutting UTA's lead 5-3.

McNeese knotted up the score 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh following a single from Connor Lloyd to plate the Cowboys' fourth run before Matt Williams dropped a nice hit into right center driving in Chayse Marion to score and tie the game.

Erickson was able to fend off the UTA offense in the last 1.2 innings allowing just one hit but no runs to score.

Gooch started the rally in the final inning of play on a single through the left side before two more runners were able to make it on base before the game-winner was crushed down the left side.

McNeese will return for the rubber match tomorrow as the Cowboys face off against UTA beginning at 1 p.m.