TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – Nate Fisbeck went 3-for-5 at the plate with a double, RBI and run scored and McNeese out-hit 25th-ranked Alabama for the second time this weekend, but the Crimson Tide used the long ball for the second straight game to pull out a 9-5 win over the Cowboys.
Alabama right fielder Owen Diodati, who hit a two-run, eighth inning home run in Saturday’s game to tie it a 3-3, came up big again on Sunday with a one out, sixth inning grand slam to turn a 5-4 lead into a 9-4 advantage. That came one inning after Zane Denton, Saturday’s hero with his walk-off home run, hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to put his team up 5-4 through five innings.
Brody Strahan (0-1) took the loss out of the bullpen, giving up two runs in the fifth inning as Alabama went ahead 5-4 after the Cowboys went up 4-3 in the top of the fifth.
The Cowboys struck first with a run in the second inning after Jake Dickerson (BB) and Whelton (single) reached to lead off the inning. Dickerson advanced to third on Whelton’s single. Julian Gonzales laid down a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt to score Dickerson and put the Cowboys up 1-0.
Alabama tied it in the bottom of the 2nd then scored two runs in the fourth to go up 3-1.
McNeese retook the lead in the top of the fifth with three, two-out runs to go up 4-3. Payton Harden got things going with his first hit on the season, an infield single to the pitcher. Fisbeck followed with a double down the left field line to score Harden and cut the Alabama lead to 3-2. Clayton Rasbeary tied things at 3-3 with an RBI single to right field that scored Fisbeck. Tré Obregon kept the rally going with an RBI double to score Rasbeary and put McNeese on top 4-3.
Alabama went back on top in the bottom of the inning when Zane Denton, who hit the walk-off home run in Saturday’s game, popped a two-out home run to left field to put the Crimson Tide up 5-4.
Diodati’s grand slam in the sixth added to the lead to make it 9-4 before McNeese attempted another two-out rally in the eighth inning.
Dickerson and Whelton both reached after getting hit by a pitch in consecutive at bats. Nate Collins then got a pinch-hit single to load the bases and Jordan Yeatts followed to draw a pinch-hit walk to score Dickerson and make it a 9-5 game. The rally ended after Alabama brought in a new pitcher and got Collins to groundout to shortstop.
Both Rasbeary and Whelton wrapped up the opening weekend hitting .400 or better – Rasbeary at .417 and Whelton at .400. Fisbeck is hitting .357 and Dickerson .333.
Fisbeck hit three doubles and recorded three RBIs in the series while Obregon knocked two doubles and two RBIs.
McNeese will open up its home slate on Friday when it hosts Prairie View at 6 p.m. at The Jeaux to begin a four-game weekend series.