Last Modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 9:43 PMMcNeese’s Canadian Connection came through in a big way last week to help keep the Cowboys’ season alive.
Pitcher Jason Gibson and left fielder Jackson Gooch, both natives of British Columbia, each had a hand in McNeese’s 3-1 Friday night victory at Oral Roberts that set the tone for the Cowboys first series win since March.
Gibson held the Golden Eagles to one run in eight innings, while Gooch’s two-run homer in the eighth provided the winning margin. Coach Terry Burrows said both of those things lifted a cloud that’s hung over the team for weeks.
“As soon as (the homer) happened it was kind of a spark for everyone,” Burrows said. “That got the kids believing they could beat anyone in the conference. That was probably the best arm in the conference (against us) right there.”
The Cowboys need that confidence to carry over into this weekend’s season-ending series against Southeastern Louisiana (31-21, 14-10 Southland), which begins tonight at Cowboy Diamond.
McNeese (22-27, 9-15) owns a one-game lead over Nicholls State (25-27, 8-16) for the last spot in next week’s eight-team conference tournament in Sugar Land, Texas, but the Colonels own the tiebreaker. Nicholls closes its season at Lamar.
“Scoreboard-watching is no fun for anybody. That’s one thing we tried to relay to them. Being able to take care of what we can, not worrying about the other variables,” Burrows said. “Do what you can do on the field. If we play like last weekend, we have a really good chance to win another series.”
Despite Gibson’s success last week, he’ll be moving back to the No. 3 spot in the rotation this weekend, Burrows said. Blake Ware, who had his start cut short by a rain delay on Saturday, will start tonight with Bryce Kingsley going on Friday.
Burrows admitted he was playing the percentages last week by saving Ware (5-5, 2.32 ERA) and Kingsley (7-5, 2.73) for Saturday and Sunday rather than putting either up against ORU ace Alex Gonzalez.
“I just tried to do whatever I could for our best chance to win a couple games,” Burrows said. “The way Jason pitched was a tribute to him.”
Burrows said he is trying to do the same thing this weekend by starting Ware and Kingsley on days that will allow them to pitch the first two games of the conference tournament, which begins Wednesday.