HAMMOND – Clayton Rasbeary punched through a two-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth inning as McNeese defeated first place Southeastern Louisiana 6-4 here Thursday night in the first game of a four-game Southland Conference baseball series while handing the Lions their first home loss of the season.
Tied 4-4 and with runners on second and third, Rasbeary took a 2-1 pitch for the single to score Gabe Vasquez and Kade Morris.
Kevin Roliard, who entered the game with one out in the eighth inning and a runner on second, pitched perfect ball for the final five outs to earn the win and even his record at 2-2 on the year.
McNeese (13-11, 7-5 SLC) got a great start on the mound from Bryson Hudgens who returned from an injury and was making his first extended outing since the season opener at Alabama. Hudgens, who was on a pitch count, threw four scoreless innings while allowing just three hits against the league’s top-hitting team. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.
“Bryson gave us a great start tonight,” said head coach Justin Hill. “We couldn’t have asked for anything more for his first extended outing this season.”
McNeese snapped a 0-0 tie with two runs in the fourth inning. Nate Fisbeck got things going with a one-out double and Jake Dickerson followed with a walk. After the second out of the inning, Julian Gonzales singled into the right-center gap to score Fisbeck and make it a 1-0 game. Morris then doubled with a liner in the left field gap to plate Dickerson and put the Cowboys up 2-0.
The Cowboys added another run in the fifth to go up 3-0 before the Lions got on the board in the bottom of the frame with a run to cut the lead to 3-1.
Gonzales knocked in his second run of the game in the sixth to give McNeese a 4-1 lead but SLU (16-9, 9-4) added two runs in the bottom of the inning and another in the seventh to tie things up 4-4.
In the ninth, Morris and Vasquez led off with back-to-back walks off Lions’ reliever Noah Hughes. Payton Harden moved the runners around with a sacrifice bunt then after the second out of the inning, Rasbeary connected with a two-run single that ended up being the game-winner.
“Raz just keeps giving us great at-bats not matter the moment, but it wouldn’t have been possible without two great at-bats to begin the inning with Kade and Gabe,” said Hill.
Rasbeary led the team at the plate by going 2 for 5 as eight of the nine batters in the lineup collected at least one hit.
The series will continue on Saturday with a double-header beginning at 2.