Cowboys take down UIW to stay alive in the SLC Baseball Tournament

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 6:51 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The McNeese Cowboys took down the Incarnate Word Cardinals 3-0 in their third game of the Southland Conference Tournament to keep their season alive.

Wednesday night the Cowboys fell 3-2 to Nicholls in the longest-recorded game in Southland Conference Tournament history as they went through 14 complete innings in the narrow loss.

Coming into Thursday’s match-up against UIW, McNeese’s bullpen was just about as thin as possible, and with that, they were hoping to limit the number of arms that they needed to use against the Cardinals.

Bryson Hudgens got the start for the Cowboys, and he was terrific on the mound as he put together a six scoreless innings outing. This game was the deepest Hudgens had gone since returning from Tommy Johns surgery less than a month ago, and he expressed after the game just how much it meant to him to be back on the mound in a situation like this.

“This is something I’ve been dreaming about and it was a goal the whole time so to get here knowing that was gonna get the ball in this situation I was ready to go, and I mean, it’s something been dreaming about for a long time and just to see it all come together in a moment like this, it was incredible,” said Hudgens. “I got a little emotional at the end because I knew that was my last time possibly getting to go out on the mound, so that was really special.”

Hudgens also had a very solid defense behind him on Thursday as the Cowboys turned three double plays on the day including a catch and throw by Payton Harden from center field to home early in the ball game to save a run.

The scoring for the Cowboys all came in the third inning, and the cushion they built from those runs proved to be enough to take the game.

Taylor Darden and Schuyler Thibodaux got that inning going for the Cowboys as they both got on base to get McNeese into scoring position.

Just a couple at-bats later Brad Burckel would cash in with an RBI single to left field that would bring Darden home to put the Cowboys up 1-0 over the Cardinals.

The Cowboys then would knock in their last two runs just an at-bat later as Josh Leslie lined a ball down the third base line to bring in both Thibodaux and Burckel to go up three in the game.

After the win head coach of the Cowboys Justin Hill expressed just how proud of his team he was after responding to the loss they had against Nicholls the night before.

‘Really proud of the guys today, they just played good defense and we had two great pitching performances today as well,” said Coach Hill. “We had some really timely hitting, you know, I mean that’s been another thing and after finishing up the game yesterday with the quick turnaround to get here early that’s just them wanting it more and I’m really happy with how our guys responded today.”

The Cowboys will be back in action on Friday at 2:30 PM for their next Southland Tournament game. They will play either New Orleans or Northwestern in that match-up, with the winner moving on to play another game that same day at 6:00 pm.