Last Modified: Friday, May 03, 2013 10:49 AM
A scheduling quirk has McNeese State going back to the Southland Conference’s quirkiest ballpark for the third consecutive season.
The Cowboys travel to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Chapman Field for the fourth time in five seasons as they attempt to break out of a slump and fight for a spot in the conference tournament.
McNeese (20-22, 7-11 SLC) has lost 12 of its last 14 games and has to turn things around in a place that it has historically struggled. The Cowboys are 2-7 at Corpus Christi since 2009.
The Islanders’ home field finally has lights — eliminating the once regular occurrence of sun delays — but still plays to the elements depending how the wind is blowing off Corpus Christi Bay.
“It can blow out to right really hard. Sometimes their swings have been geared towards that,” said McNeese coach Terry Burrows. “The bottom line is we need to pitch and play well. We need to have good weekend.”
McNeese has a one-game lead over Nicholls State for the eighth and final spot in the conference tournament with nine league games to go.
The Islanders (25-20, 10-8) are one of the seven teams log jammed within two games of first.
“They’re having a good year,” Burrows said. “Every year we come down here — and it seems like it’s been six years in a row — it’s been tough.”
Lefty Jason Gibson (2-0, 5.97 ERA) will get the start Sunday after saving the Cowboys with six shutout innings to salvage last weekend’s season finale against Central Arkansas.
“He’s thrown good at times and then had a subpar outing,” Burrows said. “We need to get him to come out this Sunday and be consistent. We need him to throw the ball like he’s capable.”
Senior right-hander Blake Ware (5-4, 2.40) will start tonight, and freshman Bryce Kingsley (6-4, 3.23) on Saturday.
The Islanders counter with right-hander Trevor Foss (5-6, 3.55), lefty Trevor Belicek (7-1, 3.04) and righty O’Shea Dumes (1-1, 1.08).