McNeese Baseball completes comeback to beat Southeastern

Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 11:31 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - McNeese baseball was at Hammond America Park on Friday night as they began their weekend series with the Southeastern Louisiana Lions, a rematch of last year’s Southland Tournament Championship, which Southeastern won, meaning the Pokes had their first chance at revenge on Friday night.

Grant Rogers was on the bump for McNeese, and given his NCAA Baseball best 8-0 record, that typically means good things are on their way, but on Friday night that wasn’t exactly the case. Rogers was solid early on, giving up just one run on three hits through three innings, but then disaster struck for the Pokes in the fourth inning.

The Lions plated four more runs in the fourth thanks to a two-run home run off the bat of Pierce Leavengood, and RBIs by both Bryce Grizzaffi and Dane Watts, which put the Lions up 5-0 through four innings.

McNeese plated one in the sixth thanks to a Brad Burckel home run that cut the deficit to four, and then in the seventh the Pokes really made some headway. Andruw Gonzalez lead off the inning, and started the rally in the seventh with a home run to left field to cut it to 5-2, and then with the bases loaded Tre’ Obregon III took a hit by pitch that scored Taylor Darden to cut the deficit to 5-3. Then on a triple steal, McNeese would score one more in the inning as Payton Harden stole home to put the Pokes within striking distance down just 5-4.

The Pokes added another in the eighth thanks to a Darden sacrifice fly to right that scored Duhon, but a Connor Manola home run in the bottom half of the inning put Southeastern back ahead by two as McNeese trailed 6-5 heading into the final inning of the ballgame.

Looking to make some magic, Cooper Hext reached first on a Southeastern throwing error to first, then an Obregon III walk put the go-ahead run on first. Justin Hill called Conner Westenburg’s number to pinch run for Obregon, hoping to take the lead heading into the bottom half of the inning, and thanks to a Hebert fly out Hext advanced to third, and then Westenburg stole second, and with it, McNeese had the go-ahead run in scoring position, but they were down to their final out.

Braden Duhon worked the count to 2-2, and down to his final strike, he blooped one down the left field line that just stayed fair, Hext scored easily from third, and Hill’s decision to pinch run Westenburg turned out to be a good one as he too scored, and with it McNeese took their first lead of the game as this game was headed for the bottom of the ninth.

Ty Abraham came on to pitch for the Pokes, hoping to slam the door shut on the Lions, and he did just that, he gave up a leadoff walk and a one-out single, but he was able to regain his composure, and he got Manola to ground into a game-ending double play as McNeese snuck out of Hammond with a 7-6 win in game one.

McNeese will look to do it again on Saturday when game two gets underway at 6:00.