By McNeese Sports Information Assistant Hunter Bower
LAKE CHARLES – Houston shortstop Frankie Ratcliff's two-out, solo home run in the fourth inning broke open a close game, while relievers Jared West and Bubba Maxwell shut down the McNeese baseball team in the final five frames as No. 16 Houston defeated the Cowboys, 8-2, at Cowboy Diamond Tuesday night.
McNeese (23-21) returns to action on Wednesday as the Cowboys host Southern University at noon in conjunction with "Kids Day at the Park". 14 Lake Area schools will be represented, as over 1,100 kids will fill in to Cowboy Diamond for the Pokes' last mid-week contest of the season.
The game will be featured on Cajun Radio-1470 AM in Lake Charles and online at cajunradio.com. Bruce Merchant will provide the call for the game. Fans can keep up with in-game updates and other information by logging on to Twitter @McNeeseBaseball.
Cougars right-hander Andrew Lantrip (4-0) earned the win, allowing two runs and scattering three hits. The righty allowed no walks and struck out three batters.
UH relievers combined to pitch the next 3.2 innings and allowed no runs on just one hit while surrendering a walk and striking out six.
"It was tough for us in the batter's box tonight," explained head coach Justin Hill." They (Houston) have a good pitching staff and were firing off some fastballs tonight making it tough on our bats. It was frustrating on our part knowing what they were going to do. You get learn from it and move on."
Lance Sefcik registered the loss (1-1) in his first start after working five innings, surrendering three runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out two.
"I though Lance gave us the start we needed tonight," said Hill. "He did surrender a few freebies but for the most part I thought he did a good job and gave us five innings."
First baseman Chayse Marion highlighted the night for McNeese going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Third baseman Reed Gordy and designated hitter Billy Sommers also picked up a hit in the game.
Houston (33-12) manufactured its first run by way of a bases loaded Michael Pyeatt fielder's choice to put the Cougars up 1-0 in the first inning.
The Cowboys got on the board in the bottom of the inning following a smacker to deep right center from Sommers who scored Gordy and Marion from first and second.
The Cougars earned two runs back in the top of the fourth inning as Caleb Barker's triple to right field allowed centerfielder Kyle Survance to execute a sacrifice fly and tie the ball game up. Ratcliff then sent a four-bagger over the wall to give UH a 3-2 lead over McNeese.
The lead was extended in the eighth inning off of a two-RBO single from Cougars rightfielder Justin Montemayor while Houston opened up the lead in the final frame with three runs were scraped across for the 8-2 victory.