Abilene’s Hutson pitches like all-star

<p class="indent">McNeese State’s Andrew Bryan slides in safely into second base ahead of the tag by Abilene Christian’s Robert Salazar Saturday at Cowboy Diamond.</p><a href="mailto:rhickman@americanpress.com"> Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press </a>

{{tncms-inline content="&amp;lt;div class=&amp;quot;float&amp;quot;&amp;gt; &amp;lt;div class=&amp;quot;Lead&amp;quot;&amp;gt; &amp;lt;p style=&amp;quot;text-align: center;&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;strong&amp;gt;Abilene Christian 9, McNeese 3 &amp;lt;/strong&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt; &amp;lt;p style=&amp;quot;text-align: center;&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;strong&amp;gt;Today 1 p.m.&amp;lt;/strong&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt; &amp;lt;/div&amp;gt; &amp;lt;/div&amp;gt;" id="07735490-517e-48c5-bd0b-9acf9880e278" style-type="quote" title="Pull Quote" type="relcontent"}}

<div class="article_viewer_container"><div class="this_article"><div id="articleViewerPopup_articleViewer" class="article_viewer ArticleViewer text use-3d ltr" data-olive-control="ArticleViewer"><div class="animation-wrapper"><div class="align-wrapper offset-wrapper"><div class="zoom-wrapper"><div class="article" lang="en" xml_lang="en" data-view-mode="text"><div class="Content"><p class="indent">The McNeese State baseball team continued to struggle stringing together hits and quality at-bats together in a 9-3 Abilene Christian win on an uncharacteristically cool April Saturday afternoon in Joe Miller Ballpark.

<p class="indent">The Cowboys (12-19, 8-6 Southland Conference) scored three runs on seven hits, and no McNeese batter tallied more than one hit.

<p class="indent">ACU starting pitcher Garrett Hutson (3-0, 4.95 ERA) had his best performance of the season, going seven innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. He had pitched 22 innings for the Wildcats (15-14, 3-11) entering the game.

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“We have a knack for making pitchers look really good,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “He did it with a fastball the first time through the order. He was good, the fastball was good, but we have to be able to handle a fastball. If you can’t handle a fastball, you need to find another sport.”

</div></div><p class="indent">Bryan King (2-2, 4.07) handled the Wildcats with relative ease through four scoreless innings. He faced the minimum number of batters through three innings.

<p class="indent">But ACU found its rhythm in the fifth inning and it never took its foot off the gas after that.

<p class="indent">Two of the three runs that inning were unearned, and one of them came across after Zach Smith, trying to check his swing, accidentally made contact and put a dribbler down the first-base line that allowed Seth Watts to score from third base.

<p class="indent">“I thought Bryan kept things pretty good,” Hill said. “You’re going to be the victim of some dumb luck sometimes. You can’t plan for the dumb-luck stuff. You just have to be able to handle it when it happens. It is what it is.”

<p class="indent">The Wildcats scored three runs in the fifth inning, then two apiece in each the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

<p class="indent">King left after 6 1/3 innings having given up five runs — three earned — on nine hits with four strikeouts. Peyton McLemore came in relief and went the rest of the game, giving up four runs on six hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

<p class="indent">“I thought when (McLemore) came in in the seventh, he got us out of there in a big situation,” Hill said. “I thought he threw better than his numbers. But once it was 7-3, they started feeling pretty comfortable and took some pretty good swings off of him.”

<p class="indent">McNeese caught a break in the seventh inning when Carson Maxwell hit a ball deep into right field that looked to be caught by ACU right fielder Dalon Farkas before popping out of his glove, allowing Maxwell to get to third for a two-RBI triple.

<p class="indent">“I was rounding first and I saw him dive and his glove went up, then the ball came out,” Maxwell said. “I just kept running until coach stopped me. I’ve never seen that before. That was interesting.”

<p class="indent">The Cowboys will look to bounce back and salvage the series with a win in a game scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. today.

<p class="indent">“We just have to keep competing,” Maxwell said. “We can’t fold or get too big. We just have to keep playing the game we want to play, stay locked in and play hard.”

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<div class="float"><div class="Lead"><p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Abilene Christian 9, McNeese 3</strong><p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Today 1 p.m.</strong></div></div>

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