McNeese baseball coach Justin Hill encourages his team at the mound. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:28 PMLAFAYETTE — McNeese State lost its sixth consecutive game as Matt Hicks and Ben Carter combined to throw a two-hitter in No. 2 Louisiana-Lafayette’s 8-0 win Tuesday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
The Cowboys (20-19) got a gift in the top of the first when Jackson Gooch reached third base on a fly ball to deep right field that ULL’s Dylan Butler couldn’t locate and dropped, but McNeese failed to get Gooch home. It was the first of three times the Cowboys would strand a runner at third base.
“It’s just been really frustrating lately,” Gooch said. “We’re getting the chances and we’re just not scoring right now. The opportunities are there. I was in scoring position twice and it just didn’t happen. That’s kind of the story right now and we’re trying to get through it and find a way to score runs.”
ULL (37-5), which recorded its ninth shutout, pulled ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice that scored Kinder’s Blake Trahan.
Michael Desabrais, who got the start for McNeese, worked his way out of two bases-loaded jams in the second inning as ULL left three runners on base in the inning.
McNeese and Desabrais couldn’t hold the Cajuns off in the third, though, as Caleb Adams sent an RBI double off the wall in left-center field to make it 2-0.
ULL added two runs in the inning on a wild pitch and an infield single.
Desabrais (0-2) allowed three hits, three runs, three walks and hit two batters in his 2 1/3 innings.
“When you give up free passes and fall behind in the count, that’s going to drive your pitch count up and they’re going to know more likely what’s going to be coming,” said McNeese coach Justin Hill. “Everything from the pitching side, I thought we put (ULL) in an advantage situation and they got the job done and took advantage of that.”
Gooch tallied McNeese’s first hit with a double in the fourth inning, but was once again left stranded at third base.
“From the offensive side, you’ve got to make them pitch backwards a little bit more, make them fall behind in the count,” Hill said. “The only way to do that is when they throw a pitch in there, you’ve got to put the barrel on it and that’s not something we did tonight. They challenged us and they were just a little bit better than we were tonight.”
ULL tacked one run in the sixth and seventh innings and two in the eighth to make it 8-0.
The Cowboys have lost eight of their last nine games.
“There’s two sides to it,” Hill said. “One, you can look at the game and the fact is they played better than we did top to bottom. The other side of it for us is mentally getting over whatever is going on right now. For us, it’s understanding who we are and enjoying the moment a little bit more we’re not doing that right now.”
Tyler Girouard and Jace Conrad had two hits apiece for the Cajuns, who beat the Cowboys 14-8 on April 9 in Lake Charles. Conrad had two RBIs. Hicks (5-0) struck out five in as many innings. Carter struck out three in four innings. The Cajuns didn’t issue a walk.
Six Cowboys pitchers combined to walk seven.