La. Tech ace shuts out McNeese in opener

By By Alex Hickey / American Press

The last thing a scuffling offense like McNeese needed to see on Friday night was a pitcher like Phil Maton.

But they did, and the result was a predictable 6-0 loss to Louisiana Tech in the series opener at Cowboy Diamond.

The Cowboys (4-5) were handcuffed by Maton, who allowed two hits and struck out nine in 7 innings.

“He’s throwing the ball well right now, and that coupled with the way we’re feeling at the plate is the ideal situation,”

said McNeese coach Terry Burrows.

Maton (2-0), a sophomore right-hander from Chatham, Ill., lowered his earned run average to 0.36 with the performance. He

has not allowed an extra-base hit in 18 1/3 innings pitched.

“You give him the ball and he’s going to go deep into a game,” said Tech coach Wade Simoneaux. “Phil is dynamic on that mound.

He gives us a chance to win every time out.”

As good as he’s been, Maton gave the Cowboys some chances with four walks. But McNeese looked every gift horse in the mouth,

finishing 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

“Those situations are going to keep

coming up until somebody makes it happen. It’s obviously in the back of

all their heads

right now,” Burrows said. “Until somebody drives some runners in,

they’re still going to feel that way. We need to get that

hit and get over. We’re going through a tough time, but these kids

are going to keep working hard and keep battling. You can’t

start feeling sorry for yourself.”

McNeese pitcher Bryce Kingsley (2-1)

was able to keep the Cowboys competitive for the first five innings, but

things got away from him

in the sixth as the Bulldogs (3-6) chased the freshman from the hill

with three hits and two bases-on-balls. He exited with 5 runs

(4 ER) allowed on 6 hits in 5 2/3.

“I was happy with the way he threw,” Burrows said. “If we didn’t bobble a double play in that inning — and it was kind of

a tough play — I think that whole inning is changed if we just got the one out.”

Matters only worsened for the Cowboys when relief pitcher Jacob Williams left clutching his right shoulder after just three pitches.

“I’m obviously very concerned about that,” Burrows said. “He’s been one of our guys out of the bullpen. We’ll need some guys

to step up, and we have the guys to do it.”