McNeese baseball prepares for Southland Conference Tournament

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 11:02 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - McNeese baseball entered the 2023 season with high expectations as they were picked to win the Southland Conference, but fast forward three and a half months, and the Cowboys find themselves as the six seed entering the Southland Conference Tournament following a season where they finished with a 33-21 record overall, and a 12-12 record in conference play, but now the Pokes enter the Southland Tournament hoping to put that behind them and begin with a fresh slate.

“It’s going to be 0-0, fresh record, everything we want, we can have, it’s right in front of us,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “Now there’s zero room for error like there’s been in the past. That’s just the way it’s worked, and that’s just the hand we’ve been dealt this year.”

For McNeese, who has to play in the ‘play-in’ game against Texas A&M - Corpus Christi on Tuesday, they’re not focusing on anything beyond Tuesday night’s game, they’re hoping to win Tuesday, and they’ll figure everything else out after that.

“We’ll figure out Wednesday, you know, I hope we get to figure out Wednesday. I think that’s the way you do it, not out of a lack of confidence in our team, but out of respect for the game, and knowing what could happen. We’re going to shoot our best at them, and if we go down, we’re going to go down with our best.”

The good news for McNeese is they’ve played well against the Islanders of Corpus Christi this season as they beat them in two of three games this season on April 7th, and April 8th, beating them 8-3, and 4-3, but falling 5-3 in the second game of a doubleheader on the 7th.

The Islanders, like the Pokes, finished Southland play with a record of 12-12, but struggled overall as they went 24-29. For McNeese, they’ll be throwing the now two-time Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year Grant Rogers, and coach Hill said on Monday that if they need to use their bullpen, it will be Ty Abraham out of the bullpen as they are throwing everything at Corpus Christi in hopes of advancing to Wednesday.

Hill also added on Monday afternoon that he’s just thankful to be able to make the Southland Conference Tournament and have a chance at potentially stringing together a few wins.

“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to go and play in the postseason, you’re going to have a tough draw at some point, but I’m excited to get going, excited that it’s at home. Just the whole thing, it’s postseason baseball, there’s nothing like it, and you get an opportunity to play for a championship.”

McNeese’s game with Corpus Christi is set to begin on Tuesday at 6:00, and should they beat the Islanders on Tuesday, they will advance to play top-seeded Nicholls on Wednesday, at 6:00.

For the full Justin Hill press conference from Monday afternoon, click here.