McNeese State head baseball coach Terry Burrows. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Friday, March 08, 2013 11:16 PM
McNeese State used two pitchers, a hot batter, a pair of close plays at home plate and a coaching decision that paid off big time to pull out a 5-2 win over New Orleans on Friday night at Cowboy Diamond.
Bryce Kingsley (2-2) earned the win, making it through seven innings after a shaky first. The Privateers (0-13) scored two runs and loaded the bases before Kingsley retired back-to-back batters to end the threat.
Kingsley said there was some confusion about signs with his new battery mate, freshman catcher Cameron Toole. Once those kinks were worked out, Kingsley struck out nine while allowing two hits and two walks after the first inning.
“After that, we figured it out and the main thing was confidence,” Kingsley. “Just not worrying about it and throwing. I think our confidence is building each game. We’re going to hit the ball. I knew if I could keep us in the game it was going to happen.”
First baseman Chayse Marion was 4-for-5 with an RBI and three doubles to lead an offense that has put things together with at least five runs in each of its last three games.
“It’s just one of those thing every hitter has. They just see the ball well on a given night,” Marion said. “Our pitching did an amazing job of putting up zeros and keeping us in the ballgame.”
McNeese’s biggest swing came from the bench.
Taylor Drake pinch-hit for Phillip LeBleu with two outs in the sixth, then pounded a slider over the left-field wall to tie the score at 2.
“Honest to gosh, I put him in right there hoping he could hit a ball out of the park, and he did,” said McNeese coach Terry Burrows. “I don’t know if it was wishful thinking on my part or whatever, but he squared it up. That was the biggest at-bat of the ballgame for us.”
The Cowboys (7-6) took the lead later in the inning when Toole scored from first after UNO center fielder Chaz Boyer mishandled an Andrew Guillotte base hit.
McNeese added a pair of bang-bang insurance runs in the seventh that left UNO catcher Brian Dixon clearly agitated with home plate umpire Tom Walkoviak.
Marion and Jackson Gooch both scored on plays at the plate. Walkoviak indicated Dixon was bobbling the ball between his hand and glove when Marion scored, then signaled that Gooch slid just underneath Dixon’s tag after a throw rocketed in by UNO right fielder Morgan Barger on a Connor Lloyd sacrifice fly.
“Those were close plays, and we were fortunate with both of them,” Burrows said. “We’ll take it any way we can get it right now.”
It turns out the Cowboys would have survived even if Marion or Gooch had been called out. Trey McGee pitched two innings of scoreless relief for the save, allowing one hit with two strikeouts.
Alex Smith (0-4) was the loser for the Privateers, allowing three runs in six innings.