LAKE CHARLES – In what was nothing short of a pitchers dual at Cowboy Diamond Friday night as the McNeese baseball team came up just short, despite Cowboys right-hander Kaleb Fontenot's pitching effort as he limited Northwestern State to just one run in 8.0 innings, before the Demons used runs in the late innings to take the first game of the weekend series, 3-0.
With the loss, McNeese (19-13, 9-4 SLC) dropped into a three-way tie for first place with Northwestern State (20-13, 9-4 SLC) and Nicholls who blanked Central Arkansas, 4-0, on Friday.
The shutout was just the third of the season for the Cowboys who were blanked for the first time since game two of a Southland Conference series against Oral Roberts back on March 22.
Fontenot (3-1) was charged with the loss after picking up a quality start as he went 8.0 innings and gave up just one unearned run on five hits along with two walks and four strikeouts.
The Cowboys collected six hits in Friday's contest, all singles. Centerfielder Andrew Guillotte went a team best 2-for-4 in the game while four other McNeese batters reached base on hits.
Fontenot blanked the Demons through 6.2 innings before an unearned run scored on a throwing error by the shortstop as centerfielder Brad Underwood crossed home plate from third to give Northwestern State the 1-0 lead.
NSU extended the lead to 3-0 in the ninth with a sacrifice fly to score pinch runner Nick Heath while Underwood's three-bagger with two outs plated the final run to give the Demons a 3-0 victory.
Both teams will look to gain sole possession of first place on Saturday as the Cowboys host the Demons in game two of the series. First pitch is slated for a 3 o'clock start.