THIBODAUX – McNeese was the victim of an unfortunate situation to end the game in a 1-0 loss to Nicholls on Friday night to open a three-game Southland Conference baseball series.
With a runner on first base one one out in the top of the ninth, Dustin Duhon hit a line drive to the Nicholls shortstop who appeared to have intentionally dropped the ball to turn a double play and end the game.
The double play was turned but after a few minutes of meeting among the umpires, it was ruled the third base umpire immediately ruled the catch was made for the out before the ball was dropped and Welles Cooley, who was pinch running for Joe Provenzano at first base, was doubled off the bag for the third out for not getting back in time.
The second game of the series will carry a 6 p.m. first pitch on Saturday and will be broadcast live on the McNeese Radio Network (KEZM 1310 AM) and online at McNeeseSports.com.
McNeese (8-13, 5-2 SLC) managed just four hits behind a superb start by pitcher Grant Anderson, who allowed just four hits and one run in seven innings of action. Anderson fell to 2-2 on the season after being tagged for the loss and walked three with five strike outs in the game. Peyton McLemore threw the eighth inning and allowed one hit.
“I thought Grant was outstanding,” said head coach Justin Hill. “That outing wins a lot of games, He gave us a chance to win. That’s all you can ask.”
Nicholls (7-14, 3-4) got an equally impressive outing from starter Alex Ernestine (2-2) who tossed a complete game, four-hit shutout with a walk and two strikeouts.
The Cowboys got their four hits in the second and third innings, two hits in each, and had several hard hit balls that we affected by the winds.
“Offensively, we hit some balls that were held up,” said Hill. “If the game is clean, and there are no walks, it’s hard to score runs there. It’s just one of those things where you play good and lose. This was a tough one but we will figure out how to win that game.”
McNeese left runners stranded on first and base in the second inning following back-to-back two out singles by Jake Cochran and Andrew Bryan but a fly out to right field ended the threat.
In the third, the Cowboys were close to getting on the board after Reid Bourque and Shane Selman reached after being hit-by-a-pitch and a single respectively with one out. Jacob Stracner then hit an infield single in the shortstop hole and Bourque attempted to score on the play, only to be thrown out at the plate to hold the Cowboys scoreless.
Nicholls scored the only run of the game in the second inning after left fielder Xane Washington reached on a one out walk, advanced to second on a Lee Clark single through the right side, and on the same play, scored on a throwing error by Cochran in right field.
The Cowboys kept the Colonels from potentially adding to their lead in the bottom of the seventh inning when Nicholls, with runners on first and second and two outs when, got an infield single by Brady Bell whose slow dribbler to first base was fielded by McNeese first baseman Mitchell Rogers whose head’s up play caught Waylon LeBlanc rounding third too much toward home and threw him out diving back into the bag to get out of the inning instead of facing a bases loaded scenario.
• Joe Provenzano went 0-for-3 in the game and is still two hits away from the 200 career hits milestone.
• McNeese dropped its 13th straight game to Nicholls in Thibodaux.
• Both Reid Bourque and Dustin Duhon had their 10-game hitting streaks come to an end.
• Grant Anderson lowered his season ERA to 2.87 despite the loss.
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