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McNeese State freshman Bryce Kingsley got the win Friday night, allowing three hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts. (Kirk Meche / American Press)<br>

McNeese State freshman Bryce Kingsley got the win Friday night, allowing three hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts. (Kirk Meche / American Press)

Freshman Kingsley leads Cowboys to first win of season

Last Modified: Saturday, February 23, 2013 12:53 AM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

It didn’t come easy, but McNeese State’s first win of the season did arrive as the Cowboys outdueled Arkansas-Pine Bluff 2-1 at Cowboy Diamond on Friday night.

Freshman Bryce Kingsley got the win, allowing three hits and two walks in 7 2/3  innings with 10 strikeouts.

“It’s a weight off our shoulders, for sure,” Kingsley said. “It was a total team win.”

The teams will play again at 3 p.m. today.

Kingsley (1-1) threw 77 of his 107 pitches for strikes, but coach Terry Burrows knew it was time to pull the plug after an eighth-inning walk.

“I’d have liked to left him out there, but this early in the season I’m not going to stretch him out that much,” Burrows said. “He was pushing it as it was and I’m not going to push him over 100 pitches this early.”

Sam Peterson got the save, though it was certainly one earned in the tradition of former Cubs and Phillies closer Mitch Williams.

The Golden Lions (2-4) loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the ninth on a single, hit batsman and a Peterson error on a sacrifice bunt attempt.

“I just stepped off the mound, took a deep breath and said, ‘OK, you’ve got it,’” Peterson said. “You get composed again and don’t think too far ahead.”

Peterson struck out the next man he faced before allowing a pinch-hit single to Rafael Soto. But McNeese right fielder Skylar Barrentine made sure the tying run did not score, gunning down Isias Alcantar at the plate for the second out.

“When that happened I was like, “All right, they’ve got my back. Now I’ve got to get theirs,’” Peterson said.

Peterson fanned Cody De Mera looking to end the game.

“The reason Sam’s in that position is because no matter what goes on, he’s a mentally tough kid,” Burrows said. “He’s not going to beat himself. He’s going to make you beat him.”

The Cowboys (1-3) won by scratching out just enough offense against UAPB starter Kyle Schwartz, who did his best to match Kingsley. Schwartz allowed two runs on seven hits in 713 innings.

“Schwartz threw a great game too,” Burrows said. “We had him on the ropes a few times but he battled back and kept them in the game.”

McNeese scored in the bottom of the first on a Jackson Gooch RBI double that scored Lucas Quary, then finally tacked on an insurance run in the eighth when Barrentine scored on a Chayse Marion fielder’s choice to shortstop.

“It’s a totally different ballgame just having that 1 run,” Kingsley said. “I can make a mistake, even though I have to keep throwing like the ballgame is still 0-0.”

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