Cowboys seek third series win

By By Alex Hickey / American Press

Last season, Beaumont was the home of bizarro baseball between McNeese State and Lamar.

The Cowboys won a series when no game was quite like any of the rest.

McNeese rallied from a six-run

first-inning deficit for a 9-6 Friday win. On Saturday, the teams played

the equivalent of

two scoreless games before the Cardinals eked out a 1-0 win in the

18th inning. That was mere prelude to the absurdity that

ensued Sunday, when McNeese rallied from a 9-0 first-inning

deficit for a 14-13 win.

It’s unlikely anything similar will

unfold at Vincent-Beck Stadium this weekend, but first-year Cowboys

coach Justin Hill

will take the same results as McNeese (14-9, 4-2 Southland)

attempts to open conference play with its third consecutive series

win.

“It’s still early in the conference season,” Hill said. “You never know how things are going to work out. But everything we

want is right in front of us.”

The Cardinals (14-12, 1-5) come into the series reeling having lost four straight, including last weekend’s sweep at the hands

of Nicholls State.

Hill knows Lamar can’t afford a to drop a second straight home series. He also doesn’t care.

“Hopefully we’re not matching their intensity,” Hill said. “Hopefully we’re setting the tone. Yeah, they’re gonna have some

energy and some urgency to them. But we’ve got our own agenda.”

The Cowboys are doing the rotation shuffle for the third consecutive week. Kaleb Fontenot (3-0, 0.79 ERA) has earned the Friday

night start after beating Oral Roberts in the rubber game of last week’s series, which was also his first career start.

Hill said either Michael Desabrais

(0-0, 3.77) or Bryce Kingsley (1-2, 7.04) will start on Sunday. Kingsley

has worked his

way back into the mix with a pair of quality midweek starts,

including three innings of one-hit ball in a no-decision at Sam

Houston State on Wednesday night.

“I think it was just a mental switch

for him,” Hill said. “It was something he had to fight through. He knew

he had to fight

through it. If you play long enough, it’s something you’re gonna

have to do. We’re glad he’s throwing well and I know he is

too.”

Michael Clemens remains the constant in the rotation and will again get the ball on Saturday.

“We could throw him Game 1 if we wanted to, but he’s so valuable there,” Hill said. “If you’re down a game, you feel you can

win that game. If you’re up a game, you have a great opportunity to win the series. We’ve been in both situations and he’s

pitched well enough for us to win.”