Louisiana-Lafayette beat McNeese State 11-9 Tuesday night at Cowboy Diamond, handing the Cowboys their 10th loss in 12 games.
The loss came despite one of McNeese’s best offensive showings of the season with 19 hits and a season-high five doubles.
The Cowboys (19-19) led 4-0 after three innings, but saw all of that wiped out in a seven-run sixth inning that was keyed
by two ULL homers, including a grand slam by leadoff man Dex Kjerstad on an 0-2 pitch by reliever Jacob Williams.
“That one inning killed us,” said McNeese coach Terry Burrows. “Especially that one-handed grand slam. That was pretty weird.”
Both home runs were surrendered by Williams (1-1), who came in trying to protect a 5-2 lead for starter Jason Gibson with
runners on first and second and nobody out in the sixth.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (28-13) sent 10 men to the batter’s box in the inning. Seth Harrison added a two-run shot to empty the bases
three spots after Kjerstad’s slam.
“(Williams) was in a situation to be successful, but he just had a couple 0-2 pitches that he didn’t execute,” Burrows said.
The Cowboys had multiple chances to bounce back, but were stuck grabbing at a carrot that kept being pulled out of reach.
The final opportunity came in the bottom of the ninth, when Lucas Quary grounded out to short to end the game with runners
at second and third.
Quary started the game in right field and pitched in the ninth.
“If we could have had anybody up in that situation at this time, it would have been Quary,” Burrows said. “He’s swinging the
bat. In batting practice he’s been doing well. He has a chance to hit the ball a long way. We were in the right situation,
we just didn’t get the hit.”
The Cajuns bullpen escaped a couple other late-inning situations with runners in scoring position.
The Cowboys loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth, but Ben Carter got Sam Peterson to ground into a 6-4-3
double play to end the inning.
Designated hitter Reed Gordy had a chance to drive home the tying run in the seventh, but lined directly to ULL shortstop
Blake Trahan to end the inning.
Gordy and Peterson were among the changes Burrows made to the lineup to try and snap the Cowboys out of their slump. Gordy
went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Peterson was 1-for-3 in his first start at third base.
“The guys who came in and played got some hits,” Burrows said. “We swung the bat well.”
ULL used five pitchers and McNeese used four in a game that lasted 3 hours, 36 minutes. Cord Cockrell (4-2) picked
up the win for the Cajuns, and Matt Hicks went the final two innings for his 10th save.