NASHVILLE, Tn. (KPLC) - McNeese touched down in Nashville Wednesday evoking the feeling of both its mascot and the Music City.
The Pokes donned cowboy hats, boots and jeans as McNeese aimed to make a statement thanks to an idea from Sam Houston alum and catcher Dustin Duhon.
“We’re the Cowboys, so the cowboy hat just made sense," said pitcher Aidan Anderson. "You can’t come to Nashville without a cowboy hat.”
“I didn’t expect it to blow up nearly as it did. I was all for it. I have jeans and boots and I’m a cowboy I guess you can say," said outfielder Shane Selman. "I went and bought a hat and I don’t think we were expecting it to blow up like that, but whenever it did, we’re all enjoying it right now.”
On the diamond, McNeese hit the practice field for a regional for the first time in 16 years. The Cowboys took to Hawkins field working on everything from bunting to playing the ball off Vanderbilt's version of the Green Monster.
“It’s a little bit different of a venue and we have some tight quarters around here. You really feel like you’re on top of the field," admitted McNeese coach Justin Hill. "Then there is that big green wall in left field. There are a couple of nuances, but this is a great venue for a championship.”
The feeling of postseason baseball setting in for the Pokes.
“I think everyone is just ready, amped up and ready to go," Cowboy infielder Nate Fisbeck said. "It’s been a while since we have played a game so we’re just prepping and making sure we are ready to go and that our bodies feel good.”
The Pokes come into the NCAA Tournament riding a six-game win streak, however, like everyone else in the field, it’s been nearly a week since they’ve played a game.
“You want to carry momentum and make sure that you are still ready to go," said Fisbeck, "but it’s hard after taking a week off.”
Nonetheless, the Cowboys have enjoyed the time away from the diamond.
“Of course, it’s rough, but it does feel good to get off your feet sometimes," said Selman, "and be able to relax and just soak up the moment with the guys that you have been through it all with.”
McNeese coach Justin Hill also said the Cowboys' Southland Tournament tradition of dining at Cheddar's died in Sugar Land.
“We’ve closed one book and opened a new one. It was a good run and you don’t mess with a streak. We won a championship with that streak, but it’s time to close that door with three new opponents coming up.”