Cowboys split, clinch playoff spot

Published 6:36 pm Saturday, May 11, 2024

Three weeks after appearing to be playing out the string, the Cowboys find themselves a postseason playoff team.

McNeese State clinched a berth in the Southland Conference Tournament by winning the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader over Houston Christian.

The 13-6 win at Joe Miller Ballpark was the Cowboys’ sixth straight in league play. However, the Huskies took the nightcap 9-7 to avoid the series sweep and split the day.

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McNeese captured its third straight series as they have rallied into fourth place at 10-11, 27-23 overall. Houston Christian finished Saturday 16-31, 7-14.

“Clinching in the big thing,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “We got four conference games left to play, so there is a lot of baseball to go.”

The Cowboys stayed hot early Saturday. They scored four runs in both the first and third innings before adding five in the fourth.

That gave them a 13-1 lead and allowed Hill to set up his pitching for the second game.

“It was good to get those runs early,” said Hill. “We have been playing pretty good baseball. 

“We just want to keep playing good. Anytime you are playing well you just want to keep it going.”

Brock Barthelemy worked 3⅔ innings in relief, allowing just one run and two hits to keep the Huskies from ever really mounting a threat. The right-hander improved to 3-0 with the win.

Elliot Hebert and Braley Hollins, two players who missed a good deal of time this year due to injuries, led the offense. Each had three hits as the Cowboys collected 16 as a team.

Hebert scored three runs and drove in two while Hollis scored two and drove in one. 

Chase Keeton also had a big game, driving in three runs on a pair of hits. 

In Game 2, the Huskies used a three-run fifth and held off the Cowboys for the win.

William Jewell had a pair of hits and drove in three runs for HBU. 

McNeese managed eight hits from eight different players and left eight on base.