Cowboys go island stomping

Published 5:12 pm Sunday, May 5, 2024

The Cowboys took more than their bats to Corpus Christi, Texas this weekend, they also made sure to pack their brooms.

Simon Larranaga’s three-run homer in the top of the 10th was the big blast in McNeese’s 13-10 extra-inning victory Sunday over the Islanders.

It was the first Southland Conference sweep of the season for the Cowboys as they have won four straight league games and five of their last six.

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The victory moves the Pokes into a solid position to make the SLC Tournament. McNeese (24-22, 8-10) now holds a two-game lead over Houston Christian for seventh place. They are three up on SLU for the eighth and final playoff spot and have the tie-breaker against the Lions.

So the Cowboys’ magic number to clinch a postseason berth is three with six games remaining. They also moved a half-game ahead of the Islanders (9-12, 21-30) for the sixth spot. McNeese hosts Houston Christian next weekend.

Over the weekend, McNeese scored 29 runs and pounded out 45 hits during the sweep. 

Larranaga led the way Sunday, hitting his seventh home run of the season to drive in what proved to be the winning runs after the Islanders rallied an 8-3 deficit to force extra innings.

The junior designated hitter finished 4-for-6, driving in four runs and scoring four more to lead the 16-hit Cowboy attack. Cooper Hext collected three hits and drove in three runs, including hitting his eighth homer of the year. 

Hext’s home run came in the fifth and was a two-run shot that gave McNeese a 3-0 lead when the game was still fairly calm. That all changed as the Cowboys scored five times in the seventh to lead 8-3 before Corpus began its comeback.

The Islanders tied it with a run in the ninth on pinch-hitter Stephen Horn’s RBI double. That set the stage for the big 10th inning for the Cowboys and Larranaga.

While Cameron LeJeune could not hold the lead to earn the save, he did pick up the victory. LeJeune improved to 6-2 by working the final 3⅔ innings though he did allow four runs on four hits with three of those runs being earned.

McNeese will host Southern University on Tuesday night in a non-league game before welcoming the Huskies for a weekend showdown.