Cowboys take Island series

Published 5:27 pm Saturday, May 4, 2024

The suddenly surging Cowboys claimed their second straight Southland Conference series Saturday in Corpus Christi, Texas.

In doing so, they greatly improved their chances of earning one of the eight spots in the SCL Tournament at the end of the regular season.

Until last weekend, McNeese State’s chances of making the tournament later this month in Hammond were up in the air. Since then the Cowboys have found their offense and have made their move. 

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Saturday they toppled Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 9-4 to improve to 23-22, 7-10, good for seventh place in the conference. The win was McNeese’s third straight in league play and fourth in its last five games. 

The Cowboys took two games from Southeastern last weekend in Lake Charles and are 1½ games ahead of Houston Christian in the race for seventh. They play the Huskies next weekend in a three-game set at Joe Miller Ballpark starting Friday.

They will look for their first conference sweep today when they finish the series against the Islanders (21-29, 9-11) at 1 p.m.

McNeese got all the runs it would need in the first inning, jumping on Islander starter Jake Hill four times. The big hit was Braden Duhon’s two-run double. Braley Hollins also had an RBI hit.

Hill allowed six runs, five earned, and eight hits while taking the loss and falling to 1-4 on the season. 

Duhon finished 3-for-5 to lead the 16-hit McNeese attack. Six other Cowboys had two hits in the rout. Cooper Hext also drove in a pair of runs in the game. 

Left-hander Alexis Gravel came on in relief for McNeese to get the win. Gravel allowed just two unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth to earn to improve his record to 2-3. 

Gravel went the final 5⅔ innings for McNeese, scattering six hits and striking out seven while throwing 98 pitches. He helped save the Cowboy bullpen for the series finale.