Tyler Wesley struck out 10 batters in five innings of work and four McNeese relief pitchers followed with seven more strike outs as the Cowboys tied a single-season school record with 17 Ks thrown in a 4-2 win over LSU-Alexandria on Tuesday night in the first home game in 17 days.
The win gave McNeese (30-13) its 30th win of the season marking the fourth-consecutive year to notch 30 or more wins in a season, all under head coach Justin Hill. It’s just the second time in school history for a streak of that kind. The longest was seven straight seasons with 30 or more from 1988-95 under head coaches Tony Robichaux and Jimmy Ricklefsen.
Wesley set the tone with 13 consecutive outs after a tough first inning where he allowed a run on three hits.
“(Catcher) Dustin (Duhon) was calling a great game for me,” said Wesley whose 10 punch-outs are the most by a Cowboy pitcher in a game this season. “I had a lot of faith in what he was calling and things just worked out for me.
“The first inning was a little tough. When you’re making the pitches and hitting your spots and getting hit around, it kinda rattles you, but when you have a defense like we have, it settles you down.”
“They (LSUA) came out swinging,” said head coach Justin Hill. “Tyler settled in really well. Dustin did a good job of calling the game. Mason (Mize) caused his own trouble there a little bit in the sixth but I thought he recovered nicely. (Peyton) McLemore, Aidan (Anderson) and (Gavin) Sonnier did a really good job.
“When we pitch well, we win.”
Both team managed just five hits each in the game but the Cowboys had the big blast in the third inning when Shane Selman knocked a three-run home run, his 11th on the season, to put McNeese the lead for good.
“(LSUA) They’re a quality team,” said Hill. “They’re a championship team. They’re going to the postseason. They were good. If they would have won today, they earned it. I thought we earned the win today. We got after it and played a little bit better than they did.
“We’ve had a long stretch. It’s good to be home. We want to play better. But there’s no such thing as a bad win.”
McNeese added a run in the fifth inning after Ricky Ramirez stole third on part of a double steal, then scored when a throw down to second to attempt to get out Joe Provenzano got away from the second baseman.
The Generals (33-20) got a run back in the sixth inning when Trace Oliva and Kris Tamplet drew back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. After Mize got the next batter to hit into a double play, a double by Logan Constantine scored Oliva to cut the margin to 4-2.
The next three Cowboy relief pitchers got the next 11 of 13 batters out as Anderson picked up his first save of the season in closing out the final inning.
Wesley improved to 2-1 on the year in his longest outing of the season. He allowed just one run on three hits with the 10 strike outs and did not walk a batter.
LSUA starting pitcher Kael Jones (2-6) took the loss after he gave up three runs on three hits in four innings.