LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - McNeese got some strong starting pitching, defensive gems, and crucial hits in Saturday’s 3-1, 6-5 double-header win over Prairie View on Saturday afternoon and will go for the four-game series sweep on Sunday at 1.
Ty Abraham threw 4 1/3 innings, allowed no earned runs and just two hits while striking out three to pick up the game one win, then in the nightcap, Christian Vega threw six scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out nine.
But it was the late inning heroics of Julian Gonzales and Clayton Rasbeary that lifted the Cowboys to the game two win.
After Prairie View (0-3) tied the game with four runs in the top of the eighth inning to make it 5-5, the Panthers carried that momentum into the ninth where they got a one out walk and runner to reach on a fielding error to put runners on first and second.
The next batter singled to left field where Gonzales was just entered for defensive purposes. And boy did that substitution come at the right time. Prairie View’s runner at second was waved around third on the single to try and give the Panther’s the lead when Gonzales fielded the ball and got the runner out at home as catcher Ben David applied a perfect tag.
Relief pitcher Kevin Roliard (1-0) got the next batter to strikeout swinging to leave runners stranded at second and third.
In the bottom of the ninth, Nate Fisbeck led things off by reaching on a walk. Rasbeary followed up with a walk-off double to the left-center field side to score Fisbeck and give the Cowboys a thrilling one-run win.
“Today’s key was getting two really good starts from Ty Abraham and Christian Vega,” said head coach Justin Hill. “We pitched well for all but one inning today.
“I can’t say enough about the play Julian Gonzales made to throw the go-ahead run out at the plate in the ninth. He didn’t get the start today but he was ready and made arguably the play of the game.”
Offensively, the Cowboys combined for 20 hits on the day, nine in the 7-inning first game and 11 in the second. Rasbeary went 3 for 3 in game 1 and 1 for 5 in the second game with an RBI and double.
Designated hitter Gabe Vasquez made his McNeese debut in game one and finished the game 2 for 3 at the plate with an RBI. Left fielder Cooper Hext also made his debut in that same game, going 1 for 3 with a double.
Fisbeck, Tre Obregon, Nate Collins and Jordan Yeatts all collected two hits in the second game.
Hunter Reeves was credited with his first save after throwing the final 1 1/3 innings in the first game, allowing no runs or hits while striking out one.