Fisbeck homer pushes McNeese past Lamar in series finale

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{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<p>Houston at McNeese, 6 p.m.</p>” id=”53ab9193-d4b4-4749-a50c-58ad53e06bbc” style-type=”fact” title=”TUESDAY” type=”relcontent”}}

Nate Fisbeck’s one-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning was the difference as the McNeese baseball team defeated Lamar 6-4 on Sunday afternoon at Joe Miller Ballpark.

The win on Sunday gave the Cowboys the series win in its first Southland Conference action of the season.

“That was a typical grinder of a conference game,” McNeese head coach Justin Hill said. “You never know what’s going to happen on a Sunday. You know, (Lamar’s) pitching staff is really good. They’re tough.”

McNeese (12-8, 2-1 SLC) was without senior outfielder Shane Selman, who suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday’s game and is considered day-to-day.

On the mound, Cowboys starting pitcher Cayne Ueckert struggled in the first two innings, loading the bases in both and allowing all four runs that Lamar scored. Despite that, Ueckert struck out six Cardinal batters and kept the damage relatively light as Lamar stranded five runners in the fist two innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the first.

Lamar (7-12, 1-5) had a chance to extend its lead thanks to two two-out singles in the top of the third. But after Ueckert recorded his sixth strikeout, Hill took him out and replaced him with Jonathan Ellison, who struck out Cole Girouard to end the top half of the third inning.

McNeese responded in the bottom of the third and got on the board thanks to a Clayton Rasbeary sacrifice fly scoring the first run and a Dylan Johnson wild pitch allowing Reid Borque to score and cut Lamar’s lead in half at 4-2.

The Cowboys stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth and left another runner on third in the bottom of the fifth. But they came through the sixth inning with the bases once again loaded when Carson Maxwell’s single to left field drove in two runs to tie the game at four.

The game was deadlocked until the bottom of the eighth when — with a runner on third base and one out — Fisbeck launched an Austin Smith down the left field line for his sixth home run of the season.

“I was kind of sitting off-speed because I knew, runner on third, less than two outs, they were probably going to throw me off-speed,” said Fisbeck, who finished the game 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored, and two runs batted in. “The first pitch, he threw a changeup and I was out in front, so I kind of just told myself sit back a little bit longer and trust your hands if he does throw a fastball. Luckily he hung a curveball and I was able to put a good swing on it, kind of sneak it around the foul pole.”

Pitcher Will Dion (2-0) came in for his second full inning of work in the top of the ninth inning to close the game out. After starting the inning with a fly out, J.C. Correa doubled to put the game-tying run at the plate. But Dion induced a pop out and a strike out to end the game and earn the victory.

Three McNeese pitchers combined to strike out 16 Lamar batters on Sunday, tied for the most in a game so far this season. After Ueckert left the game, Ellison and Dion combined to 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball, only allowing two hits, striking out 10 and walking one.

Up next for the Cowboys is a home game against Houston on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Lamar 4, McNeese 6

Houston at McNeese, 6 p.m.

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