CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Getting off to slow starts have been a thorn in the McNeese Cowboys’ side lately and that was no different on Friday night when the Cowboys fell behind early and was too much to overcome despite a late charge in a 9-4 loss to Corpus Christi in the first game of a Southland Conference baseball series.
The loss dropped the Cowboys to 22-26 overall and 14-11 in league play. It was also the fourth consecutive conference loss while the Islanders improved to 23-25 on the season and 7-15 in the league.
McNeese starting pitcher Grant Anderson was touched up early, which is unlikely for the junior his last several outings.
The Islanders scored sevens runs on Anderson, six of those earned, on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings of work as he fell to 3-5 on the season.
The Cowboys did flirt with a quick start after Carson Maxwell led of the game with a single and Reid Bourque followed with a walk. After a fly out by Joe Provenzano, Shane Selman was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Dustin Duhon hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Maxwell to put the Cowboys up 1-0.
Corpus Christi quickly responded with two runs in the bottom of the first on back-to-back RBI doubles to make it a 2-1 game.
The Islanders went up 3-1 when a run scored on a McNeese fielding error with two outs in the second inning and it grew to 5-1 following a two-run home run by Harrison Dinicola in the third.
McNeese attempted to put together a two out rally in the top of the third when Provenazno singled followed by Selman walk, but a sharp liner by Duhon was caught at second base to end the threat.
In the fifth, McNeese put runners on second and third with not outs but the only scoring that would occur came on a sacrifice fly by Bourque to close the gap to 5-2.
Corpus added two runs with two outs in the sixth to make it a 7-2 game before Peyton McLemore relieved Anderson to get the final out.
McNeese posted it best inning in the seventh when Mitchell Rogers led things off with a solo home run to cut the lead to 7-3.
Jacob Stracner kept things going when he drew a one-out walk and Maxwell followed with a single through the left side. Bourque followed with a RBI single into right field to score Stracner as Maxwell moved to third and the deficit was trimmed to 7-4.
But a strike out to Provenzano followed by a ground out by Selman ended the rally.
The Islanders upped the lead to 9-4 with a two-out, two-run home run by Dalton Stark to end the scoring.
Five of McNeese’s eight hits came in the final three innings as Maxwell led the way with a 3-for-4 game. Jake Cochran added two hits while Bourque drove in two runs.
Game two will carry a 4 p.m. start on Saturday.
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