Cowboys walk way to victory

Published 7:02 am Saturday, March 2, 2024

It wasn’t your average walk in the park that has the Cowboys back to .500, but they will take it.

Cole Plowman walked with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the 10th to give McNeese State a wild 8-7 victory Friday night over Prairie View at Joe Miller Ballpark.

The victory was the fifth in six games for the Cowboys, who improved to 5-5 on the season. The Panthers fell to 6-3 as the two teams opened a three-game weekend series in Lake Charles.

Email newsletter signup

“That was a battle and we had to earn that win,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. 

Plowman’s walk sent Cooper Hext across the plate with the game-winning run. Hext started the rally with a two-out single. 

After a walk and hit batter, Plowman came to the plate. Panther reliever Victor Mendoza first appeared to have balked in Hext on the first pitch but it wasn’t called, leading Hill to argue with umpires. 

When play was restored, Mendoza threw a 3-1 pitch high and the Cowboys had their victory.

“I feel everything this year with this team will be stressful,” said Hill. “We are going to need to take our blood pressure medication.”

Of McNeese’s five wins, four have been decided by one run.

“It’s a fun team to be around, just stressful,” said Hill.

McNeese rallied from four runs down twice in the game, thanks to the relief pitching of J.T. Moeller and Cameron LeJeune. Moeller came in after the Panthers had grabbed a 6-2 lead with a five-run fifth off starter Ty Abraham. 

“J.T. gave us a chance to win this game,” said Hill. “He won’t get credit for it, but he kept us in it.”

Moeller allowed one run in three innings before LeJeune threw the final 3⅓ without allowing a run. LeJeune ,improved to 2-0 with the victory while Mendoza fell to 0-1.

Braden Duhon’s two-run double in the bottom of the sixth ended a three-run rally that saw the Cowboys tie the game at 7-7. Duhon finished with a pair of hits and three runs batted him

Payton LeJeune had three hits for McNeese and drove in two runs as he broke out of an early-season slumber. Conner Westenburg led off the bottom of the first off with his third home run.

Michael Smith had four hits while Garrison Weiss had three and four RBIs to lead the Panthers. 

The two teams will meet again Saturday at 1 p.m.