Cowboys pitch their way to first win

Published 9:22 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

It took a week but the Cowboys got their first win of the season.

Zach Voss and Cameron LeJeune combined to allow just five hits as McNeese State held off New Mexico State 2-1 at Joe Miller Ballpark.

The duo struck out 12 as McNeese improved to 1-4 after opening the season with a series at No. 8 Texas A&M and a home game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

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“It’s always hard to get that first one,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “You are always on pins and needles until you get that first one.”

Voss struck out a career-high seven in 5⅔ innings, allowing just one run and four hits as he bounced back from a tough opener against Texas A&M.

“I was very proud of Zach,” said Hill. “He was very composed and focused. He threw the ball really well.”

LeJeune worked out of trouble in the sixth and finished his 3⅓ innings striking out five and allowing just one hit. He picked up his first win as a Cowboy.

“Feels good to get that one and I think we can get going now,” said LeJeune. “The team win is all that matters.”

LeJeune was considered a starter for Game 2 of the four-game series but with a chance to win Hill turned the game over to him.

“We were so focused on getting our first win we knew we could take our shot,” said Hill. “Once Cameron was in it was his game to finish.”

Chase Keeton’s double to right-center in the bottom of the sixth scored Grant Mangnum with the winning run. Keeton and Mangnum each had two hits, but the game-winner came with two out.

“That was huge to get back the lead,” said Keeton. “We just need this first win.”

Keeton’s hit came after the Aggies (2-3) tied the game on Preston Godfrey’s RBI roller to short in the top of the sixth.

The Cowboys took the lead on Connor Westenburg’s run-scoring single to right that drove home Braden Duhon from second with two out in the third. It was McNeese’s first lead of the season.

Westenburg finished with three hits to lead the Cowboys, who knocked out nine off two NMSU pitchers. Starter Trey Meza took the loss for the Aggies.

Sulphur native Gage Trahan picked up his first career hit. Trahan singled to center with two out in the bottom of the sixth. He was making the first start of his career.

Trahan played for Brailey Hollins, who is likely out for the entire series while in concussion protocol. Hollins was hit in the head by a pitch Tuesday against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The two teams will continue their series Saturday with the first pitch set for 1 p.m. Senior right-hander Ty Abraham will get the start for the Cowboys. 

He will be opposed by lefty Josh Sharman for the Aggies.