Late blast slams Cowboys

Published 5:58 pm Friday, March 29, 2024

One missed play followed by one bad pitch turned victory into defeat for the Cowboys in a matter of minutes Friday.

When pitcher Daelan Caraway couldn’t handle a hard bouncer back at him in the ninth, Northwestern State made the most of the extra chance.

Instead of a possible game-ending double play, the inning continued for the Demons. Two batters later, Daniel Burroway launched a long grand slam over the fence in left-center field, lifting the Demons to a 6-2 win at Joe Miller Ballpark.

Email newsletter signup

Burroway’s fourth homer of the season evened the Southland Conference series at a game apiece after McNeese State won the opener Thursday 8-2. The series finale will take place today at 2 p.m.

“It’s a real tough one for the boys,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “We had a game we probably should not have won and couldn’t finish it. We have to bounce back to win the series.”

The loss drops the Cowboys to 13-11 overall and 1-1 in the conference. NSU improved to 8-19, 1-4.

Despite being outhit 14-6, McNeese still took a 2-1 lead into the ninth thanks to Cooper Hext and Elliot Hebert, Each had a pair of hits with Hext doing the most damage.

He hit his second home run of the season to tie the game 1-1 with two out in the sixth. That broke up the no-hit bid of Demon starter Chase Prestwich, who allowed just two hits over six innings.

Hext, who is 9-for-17 over the last four games, gave McNeese a lead in the eighth when he scored from second on Hebert’s single to right. That, however, only led to the heartbreaking ninth.

Caraway walked two and gave up a single while getting just one out before the trouble escalated.

“A few things led up to that one play,” said Hill. “The walks hurt.”

Caraway saw Samuel Stephenson’s one-hopper ricochet off his glove for an RBI single that tied the game 2-2. He then got Bo Willis to pop out, setting up the showdown with Burroway.

Caraway (1-1) picked up his first loss of the season while NSU reliever Caleb Bunch (1-0) earned his first win after allowing four hits and one run over three innings.

McNeese starter Zach Voss was very good over his 6⅔ innings, as he scattered eight hits while striking out a career-high eight. Voss didn’t walk a batter while allowing just one run.

“There were a lot of positives, but you don’t feel good about those right now,” said Hill.

The Demons took the lead in the sixth off Voss on Rocco Gump’s RBI single to center. An inning earlier Braden Benton was thrown out at the plate by McNeese center fielder Conner Westenburg on Coin Rains’ single up the middle that kept the game scoreless.

Gump was trying to give the Demons the lead as he raced for home from second, but Westenburg’s throw easily beat him.

McNeese will send Alexis Gravel (0-1, 4.29) to the mound in the series finale. Northwestern State will counter with right-hander Dawson Flowers (1-1, 6.04).