LAKE CHARLES – Cayne Ueckert threw five shutout innings while allowing just two hits with six strike outs and the McNeese offense scored all 10 of its runs in the first four innings as the Cowboys defeated Prairie View 10-6 on Saturday afternoon to take game two of the three-game weekend series while picking up the series win.
The Cowboys (24-27) will go for their first home weekend series sweep and second of the season on Sunday when the finale gets underway at 1 p.m.
About 15 minutes prior to first pitch, McNeese will recognize its five seniors – Joe Provenzano, Mitchell Rogers, Tyler Wesley, Andrew Bryan and Austin Briggs. Provenzano, Briggs, Rogers and Wesley all walked during graduation ceremonies on Saturday morning prior to the day's game.
Ueckert (4-2) gave up a lead-off single in the second inning and didn't allow another single until there was one out in the fifth inning as he retired eight straight batters.
While Ueckert was dealing on the mound, the Cowboy hitters were taking their hacks at the plate.
In the first inning, Provenzano belted a two-out double then scored on a follow-up single by Carson Maxwell to put the Cowboys up 1-0.
The lead climbed to 3-0 in the second on a two-run single by Brett Whelton, then in the third, Maxwell popped a solo home run to make it 4-0. It was his sixth homer of the season.
McNeese opened the game up with a six-run, fourth inning that started on a lead-off double by Rogers then Whelton following up with a single to put runners at first and third. Jacob Stracner belted the ball over the left field wall for a three-run homer, his second dinger in as many days, to put the Cowboys up 7-0.
The Cowboys then took advantage of a couple of throwing errors by Prairie View shortstop Andrew Garcia which led to a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch on Jake Cochran that scored a run to make it 8-0, then a bases loaded two-run single by Rogers to increase the lead to 10-0 after four innings.
Ueckert worked out of a minor jam in the fifth with two strike outs as his day was done.
"I thought Cayne was really good today," said head coach Justin Hill. "We got a run in the first, two in the second, one in the third, and he put up all zeroes. He kept us where we needed to be to allow the offense to do what they did."
Prairie View scored its first runs in the sixth inning when it made good on five walks, a wild pitch and a Cowboy error, scoring three runs on no hits and cutting the gap to 10-3.
The Panthers scored two more in the seventh and another in the eighth to pull to within 10-6 but McNeese closer Aidan Anderson shut the door on any kind of ninth inning rally to keep the Panthers off the board.
McNeese pounded out 12 hits in the game, three of those from Whelton who finished 3-for-5. Provenzano, Maxwell and Rogers each finished with two hits.
Provenzano also increased his career total to 243 hits, moving him to just four away from matching the school career record of 247 held by Andrew Guillotte. He needs two more to move into sole possession of second (Charlie Kingrey at 244). His double on Saturday gives him 45 in his career, tying him for sixth all-time with Tim Lemke and needing one more to move into a tie for fifth.
Prairie View third baseman Ezekiel Bear led the Panthers at the plate with a 3-or-4 showing while starting pitcher Tyler Laux (4-3) took the loss after he gave up all 10 runs on 10 hits in five innings of action.
McNeese is expected to start Peyton McLemore in Sunday's finale.
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