McNeese overcomes slow start to down Houston Baptist, 11-8

McNeese overcomes slow start to down Houston Baptist, 11-8
(Source: McNeese)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - McNeese slapped a season-high 16 hits and matched an inning-high with seven runs in the third inning as the Cowboys rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat Southland Conference foe Houston Baptist, 11-7, in a non-conference tilt on Tuesday night.

The win was the fourth straight for the Cowboys (17-20) and seventh victory in the last 10 outings. HBU fell to 16-21 on the season.

Peyton McLemore (1-1) picked up the win in relief effort after he threw three scoreless and hitless innings and struck out seven batters. Aidan Anderson closed the door with his fifth save of the season with a scoreless and hitless ninth inning.

All but one batter in the lineup collected a hit, that being reigning Southland Conference and Louisiana Hitter of the Week Dustin Duhon, but he did contribute offensively with a walk, recorded an RBI and scored a run.

Carson Maxwell, Joe Provenzano and Jake Cochran each recorded three hits on the night while Reid Bourque and Mitchell Rogers had two hits apiece.

HBU starting pitcher Hunter McClellan (1-2) took the loss after he gave up eight runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings of action.

After falling behind 6-1 following a 6-run second inning by Houston Baptist, McNeese had an answer for HBU's big inning as it scored seven in the bottom of the third to go up 8-6.

After Maxwell lined out to start the inning, Reid Bourque and Shane Selman started the rally with back-to-back walks. Joe Provenzano singled to load the bases. Duhon walked to score a run and cut the margin to 6-2. Back-to-back RBI singles by Jake Cochran and Mitchell Rogers to cut the gap to 6-4.

An RBI fielder's choice by Jacob Stracner pulled the Cowboys to within 6-5 then a two-run single by Brett Whelton put McNeese on top 7-6.

Maxwell and Provenzano each popped solo home runs in the fifth and sixth innings respectively as the lead climbed to 10-6.

HBU exploded with six runs in the second inning, all scoring with two outs, to take a 6-1 early lead as it hit for the cycle as a team in the frame.

Matt Heck led off the inning with a double but was doubled off second base after a line drive out by Jake Pulcheon to Provenzano at second base went for a double play. Back-to-back singles followed then Elija Simon hit a RBI triple. After Jack Fitzgerald walked to put runners at the corners, Jake Scott completed the cycle with a three-run over the left field wall to make it 5-1.

The hits kept coming for the Huskies when Johnson-Depreta followed the homer with a bloop double down the left field line and then scored on Spencer Halloran's single to make it 6-1 before the Cowboys closed the door on the inning. 

McNeese took a 10-6 lead into the eighth inning when HBU scored a run to cut the gap to 10-7.

The lead increased to 11-7 following a solo home run by Provenzano in the bottom of the eighth. HBU got one back in the ninth inning to make it a three-run game and had runners on second and third before Anderson shut the door on them.

The Cowboys, who are tied for second in the conference standings at 12-6, will host Northwestern State this weekend in a three-game series beginning Friday at 6.

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