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McNeese baseball coach Justin Hill encourages his team at the mound. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

McNeese baseball coach Justin Hill encourages his team at the mound. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Cowboys to open SLC series with rare doubleheader

Last Modified: Friday, April 04, 2014 2:08 PM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

A Northern baseball phenomenon has become a staple of McNeese State’s schedule this season: weather-related rescheduling.

Thanks to the forecast, the Cowboys schedule will not consist of something so simple as three games in three days for the fourth consecutive weekend.

With dire skies predicted for Sunday and not-so-pleasant clouds coming through on Saturday night, McNeese (16-11, 6-3 Southland) will open its weekend series against Houston Baptist (14-11, 5-4) with a doubleheader that begins at 3 p.m. today.

“In a perfect world we’d have great weather and play it all at the same times,” said Cowboys coach Justin Hill. “But, what I’ve found with this team is we don’t try to do anything easy. The weather has gone with the same mind-set. We haven’t had a normal weekend yet.”

This arrangement has not flustered the Cowboys. McNeese is looking for its fourth consecutive conference series win for the first time since 2007.

“Our kids have been battle-tested. We’ve thrown a lot of different things at them,” Hill said. “And they’ve handled it very well.”

With all due respect to both pitching staffs, it would not be a surprise to see offense on full display.

The Cowboys are second in the conference with a .299 team batting average and have scored a league-high 182 runs. The Huskies are third with a .297 team average.

“There’s no change in our (pitching) plan,” Hill said. “Attack the strike zone. Minimize the freebies. Do what we feel we’re prepared to do. We feel we can score some runs as well.”

McNeese will have the same starting rotation on consecutive weekends in conference play for the first time.

Kaleb Fontenot (3-0, 1.75 ERA) will start Game 1, with Michael Clemens (4-1, 4.50) following in tonight’s nightcap. Bryce Kingsley (2-2, 7.01) will start Saturday.

It is the beginning of what could be a crucial seven-game homestand for the Cowboys. McNeese is tied with Northwestern State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, one game in back of first-place Nicholls State.

The Demons come to Cowboy Diamond next weekend, and No. 4 Louisiana-Lafayette visits McNeese on Tuesday.

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