SAN MARCOS, Texas – McNeese baseball picked up its first win in a historic fashion on Sunday in the series finale against Texas State.
Freshman starting pitcher Adam Goree and junior transfer Cayne Ueckert combined to pitch a no-hitter and a 1-0 win over the Bobcats. It’s the first combined no-hitter in school history and the fifth no-no overall. The last one came in 2001 by Chris Howay against Sam Houston State.
Goree started the game and threw the first two innings before storms halted action for nearly an hour. After that, Ueckert took the hill when play resumed and went the final seven innings of no-hit ball while striking out five with three walks and 96 pitches thrown.
“Cayne was the story of the game,” said head coach Justin Hill. “I can’t say enough good things about him. The guy just wants to do whatever it takes to win.”
The Jasper, Texas native sat down the first six batters he faced before allowing a walk to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. He then got the next three batters out in order.
Meanwhile, the defense was doing its part to keep the rare feat alive.
In the fourth inning, Jake Cochran made a sliding catch on a shallow fly ball to right field while bumping into second baseman Joe Provenzano to steal a base hit away.
In the seventh, McNeese turned a 6-4-3 double play to end any kind of momentum swing by the Bobcats. And in the bottom of the eighth inning and a runner on second with one out, freshman shortstop Reid Bourque made a head’s up play on a grounder to his area as his alertness caught the runner from second heading to third where he threw him out for the second out. The next batter lasered a liner to Bourque for the final out of the inning.
The game remained scoreless until the ninth inning when Zach Rider, who entered to pinch hit for Cochran, hit a lead off single to right field. Shane Selman followed with a walk to put runners at first and second with no outs.
Provenzano followed with a perfectly laid bunt to move the runners up a base and in scoring position. Then Mitchell Rogers hit a fly ball to right field that was deep enough for Rider to score without a play at the plate to put the Cowboys up 1-0.
Selman then attempted to steal home but was called out on a play that could’ve gone either way to end the half inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Ueckert needed just 10 pitches in the frame, capping it off with by getting the batter to groundout to shortstop to secure the no-hitter and the shutout victory.
“It took a complete team effort today,” said Hill. “We had big at bats off the bench and the guys were ready when their number was called. I’m really proud of the boys today.”
Ueckert (1-1) got the win, his first as a Division I pitcher.
Offensively, McNeese scattered four hits off the bats of Cochran, Rider, Selman and Dustin Duhon.
Goree made his second straight weekend start and ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the first inning when he walked back-to-back batters with one out. He walked the bases loaded after a groundout to the mound for the second out, but then got the next batter to ground out to Bourque at SS to end the threat.
Goree came back in the second inning on fire, getting all three batters down in order including a strikeout to end the frame.
Sunday’s game came a day after McNeese dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker on Saturday after taking a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning.
“Our kids were really impressive today,” said Hill. “How a team comes back from a tough loss gives you a little insight of their character.”
The Cowboys (1-6) will begin a four-game home stand on Wednesday when they host SEC power Mississippi State at 6 at Joe Miller Ballpark. The Bobcats fell to 3-3 on the season.
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