LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Welcome to the record book Joe Provenzano.
The senior became McNeese's all-time career hits leader with his double in the eighth inning, his third hit of the night, for his 248th all-time hit and breaking the previous record held by former teammate Andrew Guillotte.
"It's awesome," said Provenzano. "I didn't really like talking about it. Thank god it happened. I wanted to do it at home. That was pretty cool. It was my last at-bat at the diamond too. I'm just relieved."
"What a great moment for Joe," said head coach Justin Hill. "The guy is the epitome of a professional and he's been doing it over a long time. Greatness isn't measured over one season or one game or a series, it's measured over time. He's been doing it for four years."
Provenzano entered the game with 245 career hits, needing two to tie and three to break the record. He quickly tied it with singles in the first and second innings then flew out hit next two at-bats.
He got his final chance to break the record at home in the bottom of the eighth and sailed an 0-2 pitch with two outs into the left-center field gap for the record breaker.
"I just try to be consistent every day," said Provenzano. "I come to the field every day and do my thing. I think I've left an impact on some of the guys."
The record-setting performance was the lone bright spot for McNeese on the night. After sitting through two lightning delays, the Cowboys squandered an early 6-2 lead as ULM rallied in the middle innings to post a 10-7 win in the final home game of the season for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys built a 6-2 lead after three innings behind a barrage of hits including a first-inning solo home run by Reid Bourque, second inning RBI singles by Provenzano and Dustin Duhon, and a third-inning two-run home run by Shane Selman.
But then the Warhawks made a pitching change as Richard Hebert entered the game and shut down the Cowboys for his 1 2/3 innings of work.
That allowed ULM's offense to start getting touches on Cowboy relievers Tyler Wesley and Zach Rider as the Warhawks scored two in the fourth off a home run by Joey Jordan, to cut the lead to 6-4.
ULM added another run in the fifth to cut the gap to 6-5, then in the sixth scored three runs, the last two by Brendon Jordan to put the Warhawks up 8-6.
A second lightning delay put the game on hold with a runner on for the Cowboys and no outs in the bottom of the sixth. An RBI single by Duhon scored Carson Maxwell to cut the gap to 8-7 but ULM came back with two unearned runs in the top of the seventh to go up 10-7.
Bryan King started the game and threw three innings, giving up two runs on three hits with three strikeouts. Wesley threw the next 2 1/3 innings and allowed six runs to score on four hits.
McNeese never could get anything going in streaks in the last three innings as the Warhawks closed the game out.
The Cowboys will visit Lamar for a three-game Southland Conference series beginning Thursday in Beaumont then will head to Sugar Land for conference tournament action starting Wednesday, May 23.