By McNeese Sports Information Assistant Hunter Bower:
RUSTON, La. – The McNeese State baseball team capped off a doubleheader match-up with a 20-3 win over Louisiana Tech after a walk-off homer helped lead the Bulldogs to a 6-4 victory in game one.
The Cowboys will be back in action this weekend as the team heads to Natchitoches to participate in the Northwestern State Tournament. The first game will feature a showdown with Northwestern State on Saturday at noon.
McNeese will face Chicago State in a rematch from earlier in the season at noon on Sunday before wrapping up with another game against the Demons, which is slated for a 4 o'clock start.
Below is a recap from both of Wednesday's doubleheader contests against Louisiana Tech:
Game One: Louisiana Tech 6, McNeese State 5 (11 innings)
The Cowboys jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning when leftfielder James Cantu led off with a solo home run to right field to give McNeese the lead. The dinger was the first of Cantu's career and the third overall for McNeese on the year. Jackson Gooch followed with another run later in the inning after reaching home courtesy of a sacrifice fly from first baseman Chayse Marion.
McNeese added another run in the top of the fifth as shortstop Connor Lloyd laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Andrew Guillotte who led off the inning with a single.
Despite a nearly perfect game by the Cowboys, Louisiana Tech would not go down without a fight, scoring two runs in the sixth to cut the lead to a 3-2 ballgame.
The lead was extended to two runs in the eighth as Connor Lloyd led off the inning with a double down the left field line and was driven home on the next play off of a single by Matt Williams.
The Bulldogs took advantage of two McNeese errors in the ninth inning and tied the ballgame up at 4-4 to send the teams into extra innings.
In the 11th inning Louisiana Tech's Bre'shon Kimbell connected for a two-run homer to lift the Bulldogs over the Cowboys for the victory.
Steven O' Bryant (0-2) was charged with the loss after tossing 4.2 innings in relief and allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits while recording a walk and three strikeouts.
Starter Cole Prejean lasted six innings and gave up just two runs on three hit and fanned two batters.
Matt Williams led with two hits in the game while four different McNeese batters recorded RBI's.
Game Two: McNeese State 20, Louisiana Tech 3 (7 innings)
Pinch hitter Taylor Drake hit a grand slam and drove in a career-tying four runs in game two to help lead McNeese State to a 20-3 victory over Louisiana Tech to improve to 8-4 overall on the season.
The victory was McNeese's largest margin of victory over an opponent since defeating New Orleans, 21-3, in 2005.
The Cowboys' 20 hits in game two were the most since knocking out 20 against Towson just over a year ago. The 20 runs scored in the contest was also the first time since 2006 that a McNeese team had 20 or more runs in a game after defeating Prairie View A&M, 21-7.
Five Cowboys tallied three or more hits in the game while nine others drove in RBI's, led by Taylor Drake who had 4 RBI on the day.
Starting pitcher Bryce Kingsley (1-1) picked up the win after having an outstanding day on the mound. The sophomore right-hander tossed four innings allowing no runs to score and just two hits.
The Cowboys erupted for five runs in the first inning and four runs in the second to grab a commanding 9-0 lead. Guillotte singled to leadoff the inning and scored off of a Matt Williams single to right center to put the Pokes on the board. After Connor Lloyd's sacrifice bunt scored another run, James Cantu and Matt Gallier took advantage with back-to-back doubles that drove in a combined three runs.
RBI's from Gooch, Lloyd and Marion along with plated run off of a wild pitch extended the lead for the Cowboys.
McNeese used five hits, including a three-run homer from designated hitter Lucas Quary, to tack on five more runs in the fourth inning and take a 14-0 lead over the Bulldogs.
Taylor Drake came off the bench Wednesday evening to make the best play of the game as he sent a two-out grand slam over the left center wall to put the Cowboys up 18-0. The grand slam was the second of Drake's career and the sixth homer of his career. He had the team's last grand slam against Harvard in 2013. Cameron Toole added two more runs later in the inning off a right-field single.