McNeese Sweeps Incarnate Word in 10th inning rally 9-8

McNeese sweeps UIW

LAKE CHARLES – McNeese baseball's drama-filled weekend came to an exciting climax on Sunday afternoon when after a rain and lightning delay halted play for 50 minutes and the Cowboys trailing 6-3, McNeese scored two 2-out runs in the bottom of the ninth on a hit from Andrew Guillotte to extend the game, then got a bases loaded single by James Cantu in the 10th inning to lift the Cowboys to a 9-8 Southland Conference win over Incarnate Word and sweeping the weekend series.

The win moved McNeese to 23-19 on the season and 13-8 in league play.  The Cowboys remain in a three-way tie for third place in the league standing with Northwestern State and Sam Houston State and are one game behind second place A&M-Corpus Christi, and two games behind league leader Nicholls.

Incarnate Word fell to 13-28 overall and 5-10 in the Southland.

McNeese put 17 hits on the board while the first three batters in the order – Guillotte, Jackson Gooch, and Chayse Marion, each collected three.

The Cowboys trailed 3-0 after UIW scored three in the top of the first in a frame that saw the Cardinals belt out three doubles.

The lead wouldn't last long as McNeese tied the game behind a run-scoring double by Gooch then a two-run home run from Marion.

UIW plated three more in the top of the second and carried a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the fourth when the rain and lightning struck as play was halted with a runner on first and a 2-0 count to Cameron Toole with no outs in the inning.

After the delay, the Cardinals brought in a new pitcher who walked Toole followed by a bunt single by Guillotte to load the bases.  Gooch knocked in two runs on a double to left-center to cut the lead to 6-5 and Marion followed with a single up the middle to tie the game.

The score remained 6-6 until the seventh when the Cardinals got a RBI double from Jesse Hoover and a run scoring single by Ethan McGill to make it 8-6.

McNeese left the bases loaded in the seventh and after getting the lead off runner on in the eighth, ended the frame with a double play ball.

In the ninth, Taylor Drake got a pinch-hit single to start things off.  Phillip LeBleu would be thrown out at second after pinch-running for Drake, on a fielder's choice from Lucas Quary.  Conner Lloyd followed with a single through the right side and Sam Peterson reached when his grounder to third was played out with an attempt to get the out at second that failed.  That loaded the bases for Guillotte whose single through the right side plated two runs to tie the game.

In the 10th, Marion led the inning off with a triple into the left-center gap.  Reed Gordy and Clay Payne would be intentionally walked to load the bases.  Cantu followed with a single to center field to drive in Marion for the game-winner.

Bryce Kingsley started the game but lasted just 1 1/3 innings as he gave up six runs on eight hits.  Collin Kober pitched a nice game in relief action with 4 2/3 innings tossed.  He gave up two runs on three hits.  Cole Prejean (5-2) picked up his second win on the weekend after he threw the 10th inning and struck out two batters.  He relieved Cory LaPeze who threw three scoreless frames and fanned two batters.

UIW reliever Alex Shaffer (1-1) took the loss after he gave up the winning run and two hits with two walks.

The sweep was the second of the season in conference play for the Cowboys.  McNeese also swept Houston Baptist the first weekend in April.

McNeese returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Houston for an originally scheduled 6 p.m. game.  But before that, the Cowboys and Cougars will finish off its rain-postponed contest from Feb. 25 at Houston as the Cougars led 5-2 in the top of the ninth when it was halted.  The remainder of that game will begin at 5 p.m.

The Cowboys will host Southern on Wednesday with a special noon first pitch for "School Field Trip Day."  Following that game, McNeese will visit UNO for a weekend conference series.

by Matthew Bonnette