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McNeese State head baseball coach Terry Burrows. (American Press Archives)

McNeese State head baseball coach Terry Burrows. (American Press Archives)

Cowboys rally late to down Cards in conference opener

Last Modified: Friday, March 22, 2013 11:04 PM

From staff and wire reports

BEAUMONT, Texas — Talk about opening things off with a bang.

McNeese State spotted Lamar six runs in the bottom of the first, then roared back with nine unanswered to stun the Cardinals 9-6 in the Southland Conference opener for both teams Friday night at Vincent-Beck Stadium.

Phillip LeBleu’s two-run single capped off a five-run sixth inning to give McNeese the lead.

LeBleu was the leading hitter for the Cowboys, as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Third baseman Tyler Klouser also led the McNeese offense with three hits, two runs and an RBI.

Freshman right-hander Bryce Kingsley (4-2) picked up the win after allowing six earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts in 6 innings. Lamar’s Jason McKinley was charged with the loss, allowing two runs on one hit in 1 inning.

The Cowboys (13-8, 1-0 Southland) got off to a rocky start in the first inning after Kingsley gave up a lead-off single to second baseman B.J. Bunner and walked the next four batters to put Lamar up 2-0. On the next play, shortstop Sam Bumpers singled through the right side to put Lamar up 3-0.

A sacrifice fly by Aaron Olivas plated another run for the Cardinals while Garret Autrey scored on a single through the right side. A double steal allowed one more run to score and gave Lamar a 6-0 lead.

McNeese responded in the top of the second with a one-run single by Klouser and a two-run, two-out Jackson Gooch double to cut it to 6-3.

The Cardinals (19-5, 0-1) ran into pitching problems as starter Eric Harrington was hit in his throwing arm, forcing him to leave after pitching the first 5 innings.

The Cowboys came alive in the sixth when center fielder Andrew Guillotte singled before Cardinals reliever Lance Warren walked the next two batters.

The Cardinals turned to Jason McKinley with the bases loaded to face Gooch. McKinley then surrendered a sacrifice fly to Gooch with the bases loaded, scoring Guillotte and cutting the deficit to 6-4 with one out.

The next batter, designated hitter Taylor Drake, ripped a single to left center that knotted the score at 6-6. After McKinley issued a walk to shortstop Connor Lloyd, the Cowboys took the lead at 8-6 with a two-run single from LeBleu scoring Lloyd and Drake.

A double from first baseman Chayse Marion to center field in the top of the seventh allowed Guillotte, who walked earlier in the inning, to scamper home from third giving McNeese a 9-6 advantage.

The Cowboys were faced with bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh but were able to keep the Cardinals scoreless on a strikeout from reliever Lucas Quary, who finished the game for his first save of the season.

McNeese will look to clinch the series over the Cardinals today at 2 p.m.

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