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McNeese coach Justin Hill feels good about experienced rotation

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 11:32 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The two-time defending Southland Baseball Tournament Champions, McNeese, has plenty of talent to replace from 2021 both in the field and the rotation.

Will Dion and Jonathan Ellison both departed for professional baseball after leading the team in innings pitched a season ago. The duo started in 30 of the team’s 62 games while making 32 combined appearances.

“We knew Will Dion was going to start the first game of the conference tournament [last season], we knew those sort of things,” said McNeese coach Justin Hill. “I don’t think we know some of those things yet [this season]. But they’ll be fun to watch.”

While a hole opens up at the top of the rotation, it doesn’t mean the cupboard is bare.

“You’ll see the names, you’ll get used to the faces, they’re just not the ones you’re used to seeing. So the next wave of guys are coming through, but they will be more familiar than you thought,” said Hill. “Ty Abraham, Bryson Hudgens, Christian Vega, Cameron Foster I mean that’s some pretty good guys we’ve got coming back.”

That group of pitchers made up many of the midweek, Friday and Sunday starts for McNeese during the unique four-game weekend series the Southland played this past season.

Abraham is the team’s leading returner in terms of innings pitched a season as he totaled 63.1 in 15 total appearances, with 12 starts. Hudgens, meanwhile, became the team’s Friday night starter by the end of the season. Over his final three starts, he gave up just five earned runs in 17.2 innings.

According to Hill, Cameron Foster will likely take on a larger role in the rotation after starting just one game last season. Foster appeared in 22 total games a season ago and really shined during McNeese’s run through the Southland Tournament. He held Southeastern and Sam Houston to just two hits through six total innings picking up six strikeouts as well. That was part of a five appearance streak for Foster where he didn’t allow a run.

Time will only tell who will pick up the first start of the season vs. Stony Brook, as McNeese opens the season on Friday, Feb. 18.

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