Kainin Morrow pitches a gem as McNeese Baseball tops Louisiana-Lafayette

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 11:31 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It was a rivalry night at ‘The Jeaux’ on Tuesday night as McNeese played host to UL Lafayette in a game Justin Hill described Tuesday as one that felt a little bigger than the other non-conference games for the Cowboys, and they proved that early on.

Behind Brad Burckel, the Pokes jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second as Burckel hit his first home run of the season, and it was a big one as he went 411 feet to dead center field, but he wasn’t the only one to go DEEP on Tuesday night. The other half of the ‘father-son duo’; Payton Harden, joined Burckel with a moonshot in the fourth inning as he went 367 feet over the scoreboard in the left-center field as McNeese found themselves up 2-0.

The Pokes added to that lead in the fourth, and fifth innings as Burckel crossed the plate once again in the fourth thanks to a fielders choice, and then Payton Harden recorded his second RBI of the night in the fifth as he scored Cooper Hext on a sacrifice fly to right field as McNeese took a 4-0 lead.

The Ragin’ Cajuns cut into that lead in the eighth inning as Carson Roccaforte roped a double down the right field line bringing in CJ Willis and moving Heath Hood over to third, who would then score thanks to a Julian Brock sacrifice fly to right field.

McNeese then added an insurance run in the bottom half of the eighth as Tre’ Obregon III flew out to right field, and Josh Leslie scored an unearned run on a ULL error, and that run would turn out to be crucial as the Ragin’ Cajuns added two more runs in the top of the ninth, but they were too little, and too late, as the Pokes escaped with the 5-4 win.

But the real story of the night was former Sulphur Golden Tor Kainin Morrow who was making his first start of the season for the Pokes, and he was phenomenal. Morrow went six innings, struck out six, allowed just two hits, and didn’t allow a run in his first start of the 2023 season.

“I felt good, I mean I appreciate my catcher, he helped me out a lot, I appreciate my defense behind me, they made the plays that they needed to make and helped me out, and especially the offense, they were big, they scored the runs when we needed them, and overall I just appreciate my team,” said Morrow after the game.

Morrow also added that he doesn’t care if he comes out of the bullpen, or is even one of McNeese’s weekend starters, he just wants to help the team in any way he can.

“It really doesn’t surprise us, what he could do, I’m sure he {Kainin Morrow} wishes he could have a few of those walks back but I thought he threw the ball really well against a good offensive team, and he was able to navigate around those walks, so I’m really proud of him and what he did,” said Pokes head coach Justin Hill, on Morrow’s performance.

Entering Tuesday night, McNeese had won just four of their previous 10 matchups against Louisiana-Lafayette dating back to 2017, and coach Hill was happy to add another one to the win column against their rivals from Lafayette “Obviously a lot of respect for what they do, all of the non-conference games are the same... but we’re going to enjoy this one tonight.”

The Cowboys will only be able to enjoy Tuesday night’s win shortly as they have a quick turnaround before making the short 140-mile trip down I-210 to Baton Rouge on Wednesday for a showdown with Southern Wednesday night at 6:00.