No. 1 McNeese facing No. 2 SLU in conference championship series

Published: May. 24, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - As McNeese approaches the Southland conference championship series this week it’s worth noting two things that will bring some familiarity. One is the venue they’re playing at and the second is the team they’re playing.

When it comes to facing a rival, there’s no easy way to prepare. For sophomore pitcher, Grant Rogers the key is locating his pitches.

“Just not missing over the plate,” Rogers said. “If you’re going to miss over the plate, they’re going to punish you, so I just have to hit my spots.”

The Southland conference pitcher of the year will start on the bump for the Pokes on Thursday after going 7-4 this season with a 4.09 ERA. The opportunity to start the opening game of the championship series is one he doesn’t take for granted.

“I’ve worked so hard,” said Rogers. “I’ve come a long way from injuries dealing with all that and junior college I didn’t have the best year, so it feels great.”

As the series against the Lions inches closer, McNeese players know they have a bullseye on their backs. Outfielder Payton Harden said the team has to focus on playing their brand of baseball.

“We just have to stay with us. Be with us we can’t worry about what they do,” Harden said. “We can’t try and play their game we have to play our game and do what we’ve been doing the whole year.”

With McNeese hosting the finals for the first time ever head coach Justin Hill believes that no further motivation is needed. It’s just time to play ball.

“I think both teams have played each other in high stakes games,” Hill said. “I don’t anybody needs any extra motivation this weekend I think we all know it’s going to be and I think a worthy champion will come out of it.”

The series will begin on Thursday for game one at 6 p.m.

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