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Lumberjacks rally late to edge Cowboys

Last Modified: Sunday, April 14, 2013 11:22 PM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

One nightmarish inning was enough to cost McNeese State the game and the series against Stephen F. Austin on Sunday afternoon, but the Cowboys may have dodged a bullet that could have made matters even worse moving forward.

The Lumberjacks’ three-run rally in the sixth was the difference in their 5-3 win, but even that became a sidebar to the inning when center fielder Andrew Guillotte and right fielder Matt Williams collided with each other diving head-first for a Max Lamantia fly ball near the warning track.

Lamantia’s hit turned into a go-ahead triple, and Guillotte stayed on the ground for almost five minutes before getting helped up and walking off the field on his own power.

“It was one of those balls where neither of us was 100 percent certain on, so neither of us called it,” Williams said. “We ended up in the same place at the same time. Thankfully Andrew dove about a half-second earlier so I ended up on top of him and smooshed him, more or less. Had we jumped at the same time, there’s no telling what would have happened. Hopefully he’ll be all right.”

Guillotte has made a number of diving catches and collided into a wall in the past couple weeks, and was 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs before getting hurt Sunday. Guillotte is currently hitting .327 in the No. 9 spot in the batting order.

“If anything, he bruised his ribs a little bit,” said coach Terry Burrows. “He’s done a great job out there. The kid’s run through the wall more times than I count. He plays hard. You have to respect the way he plays, with no regards.”

The Cowboys (19-15, 6-6 Southland) led 3-2 going into the sixth before SFA (18-17, 8-4) got to starter Trey McGee with a single, double and Lamantia’s triple to lead off the inning and take the lead.

McNeese still hasn’t gotten a win from one of it’s Sunday starters, but Burrows said this one was a result of him keeping the pitcher in the game too long.

“He threw fine for us,” Burrows said. “For five innings he did a good job and I probably left him out there a little longer than I should have. He probably hasn’t been stretched out that much past 75 pitches.”

The Cowboy offense had chances to help McGee (2-3) get off the hook, but stranded 11 men on base.

“We had 13 hits and three runs,” Burrows said. “That’s been our Achilles heel the past couple weeks. We get a guy on the ropes and we can’t (capitalize).”

The killer was a pair of inning-ending double plays turned by the ‘Jacks on sharply hit line outs to second baseman Freddy Villalobos.

Villalobos caught a Connor Lloyd liner in the second, doubling off Cameron Toole at second base. Matt Williams was the victim with runners at first and third in the seventh, as Villalobos snagged his drive and tossed to first to double off Taylor Drake.

“You can’t make one out turn into two,” Burrows said. “That’s just simple baserunning there.”

Justin Choate (2-2) earned the win for SFA, while Brett Higginbotham got his fifth save.

McNeese heads on the road this week for a Wednesday game at Houston before visiting Nicholls State in a three-game series next weekend. The Cowboys are now in a four-way tie for fifth in the league standings, while SFA is in a four-way tie for first.

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