LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. McNeese proved the old adage true this season en route to its first NCAA Regional appearance in 16 years.
With three series to go in the regular season, the Cowboys needed to win six of their last nine games to clinch a spot in the Southland Conference Tournament. McNeese won seven, earning the five seed in Sugar Land.
"We knew we had a lot of talent and we knew we were going to be a good team,” McNeese catcher Dustin Duhon said. “When things didn't go our way, we kept telling each other to keep pushing and that's what we did, kept pushing."
Following a series loss to Northwestern State, the Cowboys were 20-20 on the season with a 7-11 SLC record.
“I think we looked up and saw that either we were going to turn the tide and start winning games or we were going to look up and not even be in the conference tournament,” Cowboy pitcher Aidan Anderson said. “It was a big eye-opening moment for us, and we looked at it like we need to win every game from then on. That was the idea that pushed us all to turn the corner and start winning the games.”
The Pokes would put together a 15-4 record during the second half of their season, starting with a win over Louisiana Tech on April 24. As a result of the strong finish, the Pokes won the Southland tournament, and earned the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament— the school’s first since 2003.
The Cowboys were selected to the Nashville Regional along with host Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Indiana State. McNeese was given the bracket’s 3 seed and will take on the 2 seed, Indiana State, Friday at noon on ESPN3.