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McNeese offense struggles as Towson completes sweep

Last Modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 9:29 AM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

It was a pretty good month for teams from Baltimore playing in Louisiana.

Two weeks after the Ravens won the Super Bowl at the Superdome, fellow Charm City residents Towson completed a three-game sweep of McNeese State with an 8-1 win at Cowboy Diamond.

As was the case in the Super Bowl, Sunday’s game featured a significant power outage — only it came from McNeese’s bats rather than the lights. The Cowboys managed only four hits and two runners in scoring position in the first eight innings, a stark contrast to a 20-hit effort in Saturday’s loss.

“I was very surprised,” said McNeese coach Terry Burrows. “After we got 20 hits (Saturday night), we pretty much got beat by the fastball and slider. We couldn’t make adjustments and couldn’t catch up, which is really disappointing because we have the guys that can beat them.”

McNeese (0-3) finally scratched across its lone run in the ninth. Cowboy pinch-hitters Reed Gordy, Michael Sullivan and Phillip LeBleau went 4-for-4 in the last two innings.

“Maybe I’ve got it backwards,” Burrows said. “Every time I put in somebody to pinch-hit, they seem to get a hit. That’s a credit to those guys coming in, because that’s not an easy task. That’s something I’ve definitely got to look at.”

Tigers starter Brandon Gonnella limited McNeese to two hits in 6 innings and struck out four.

McNeese freshman starter Bryce Kingsley, making his collegiate debut, came just a little bit short of matching Gonnella. The Barbe graduate allowed 2 earned runs on 5 hits and a walk while striking out four in 6 1/3 innings.

“He did a great job starting for his first time out in college baseball,” Burrows said. “It’s good for him and good for us in the future.”

“It definitely gave me a lot of confidence for heading into my second start,” Kingsley said.

Though he gave McNeese its best start of the weekend, a fielding miscue by Kingsley that helped get Towson (3-0) on the board in the third.

Kingsley attempted an underhanded fling to home plate after grabbing a Pat Fitzgerald squeeze bunt, and the errant toss allowed Mike Draper to score from third with ease.

“I knew a bunt was coming, I just had a mental lapse,” Kingsley said. “I was going to throw to first and got crossed-up. I’ve got to work on that.”

The error allowed Richie Blosser to advance from first to third, and he would score on a grounder to shortstop.

As it turned out, those two runs were more than sufficient for the Tigers. McNeese only mounted two serious scoring threats with the game’s outcome still in question.

Two-out hits by Andrew Guillotte and Skylar Barrentine put runners at the corners in the bottom of the third, but Draper made a nice dig at third on a hard-hit grounder by Lucas Quary and gunned it to first to end the inning.

McNeese still trailed 2-0 when Tyler Klouser made his way to third base thanks to a hit-by-pitch, sacrifice bunt and wild pitch. But Matt Henry was caught looking on a very wide third strike, and Guillotte grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Cowboys finally tacked on a run to avoid the shutout in the bottom of the ninth on a Klouser RBI single.

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