Cowboys display own version of Gorilla Ball in Saturday DH sweep over Nicholls
LAKE CHARLES – McNeese displayed its version of “Gorilla Ball” in Saturday’s Southland Conference doubleheader sweep over Nicholls.
McNeese (25-26, 18-16 SLC) pounded out seven home runs in the two games, including multiple homers by Julian Gonzales in the first game and two by Kade Morris in the second in addition to a game one grand slam by Reid Bourque.
The DH sweep gave the Cowboys the league series win and will go for the sweep on Sunday at 1 against the Colonels (20-30, 15-20 SLC).
Will Dion (7-4) earned the win in the opener and was throwing a one-hit shutout until the Colonels took advantage of a McNeese error and a passed ball in the seventh that led to three unearned runs scored, but the Cowboys still rolled to a 13-3 win in the seven-inning game.
McNeese jumped out early and often, scoring two runs in the first inning on a two-run single by Jake Dickerson, then in the second, plated three runs on a solo home run by Gonzales, RBI grounder by Nate Fisbeck then a runs scoring single by Clayton Rasbeary to put McNeese up 5-0.
Tré Obregon increased the lead to 7-0 after a two-run single in the fourth then Gonzales’ second home run of the game and third in his last four at-bats, made it 8-0 after a lead-off shot in the fifth. The Cowboys added another that inning to go up 9-0 off a sac fly by Obregon then in the sixth, Bourque cracked his first career grand slam to put McNeese up 13-0.
Dion got the complete-game win, his fourth of the season, and did not allow an earned run for the second consecutive outing. He four hits, a walk and struck out six.
At the plate, Payton Harden finished the game 3 for 4 with four runs scored while Bourque finished 3 for 4 with four RBIs and three runs scored.. Obregon ended the game 2 for 3 with three RBIs and a run scored; Gonzales went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and three runs scored and Rasbeary 2 for 4 with an RBI.
In the second game, Cowboy starter Jonathan Ellison (4-3) threw seven solid innings to get the win, allowing three runs on six hits with three strikeouts and got support from the offense like Dion in the first game.
Nicholls opened up the game scoring two runs on two hits to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. That didn’t last long as the Cowboys quickly tied things when Harden led off the bottom of the inning with a single and Fisbeck followed with a two-run homer to tie things up.
Morris put McNeese on top 3-2 with a lead-off solo home run to start the bottom of the second, then three batters later, Rasbeary blasted his ninth homer of the season to make it a 4-2 game.
An RBI sac fly by Bourque in the third increased the margin to 5-2.
Meanwhile, Ellison was cruising, having retired 10 straight batters from the third to the sixth innings. In the bottom half of the fifth, the Cowboys scored two more runs, one a bases-loaded RBI walk to Harden and the second on a straight-up triple steal that saw Gonzales chalk up the rare steal of home as the Cowboys’ lead grew to 7-2.
It was 8-2 after six innings when Peyton Johnson tripled in Dickerson but Nicholls got a run back in the seventh to close the gap to 8-3.
Morris launched his second home run of the game in the seventh, his fifth of the season, with a two-run bomb to make it 10-3. The Colonels scored four runs in the top of the ninth as McNeese sent three pitchers to the mound. Christian Vega came in to strike out the game-winning out to secure his first save of the season.
Harden, Dickerson and Morris each had two hits in the game while on the day, Gonzales was officially 2 for 3 at the plate but reached base eight times – two hits (both home runs), three walks and three hit-by-pitches.
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