Cowboys take series from ACU

Small ball key in win over Wildcats

McNeese’s Jacob Stracner tries to dodge the tag from Abilene Christian’s Zack Mausser during a Southland Conference game at Joe Miller Park in Lake Charles, La., Sunday, April 8, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick HickmanRickHickmanPhotographer
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{{tncms-inline alignment=”center” content=”<p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span class="s1"><strong>McNeese </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>6, </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>Abilene Christian </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>2</strong></span></p>” id=”9779b45d-0e52-49f1-afac-43feb7ada3bd” style-type=”quote” title=”Pull Quote” type=”relcontent” width=”full”}}

The McNeese State baseball team bounced back from a lackluster performance in Game 2 to take the series with a 6-2 victory against Abilene Christian on Sunday afternoon in Joe Miler Ballpark.

The Cowboys (13-19, 9-6 Southland Conference) got a much-needed boost from starting pitcher Tyler Wesley (3-2, 4.29 ERA), who gave up just two hits in the first six innings of the game before giving up a pair of runs in the seventh. He finished after 6 2/3 innings, giving up two earned runs with eight strikeouts.

“Tyler Wesley was the story of the game,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “I thought we put some good swings on (ACU starting pitcher Jonathan) Nicholson early with nothing to show for it. But Wesley kept them down. They only had one threat in the first inning.”

Nicholson (2-4, 5.08) earned the loss giving up two runs on three hits in 5 1/3 innings. 

McNeese reliever Zach Rider earned his second save in the season replacing Wesley for the last 2 1/3 innings in which he gave up just one hit.

After five scoreless innings, the Cowboys finally took control in the sixth inning with a three-run frame.

After Shane Selman led the inning off with a single and Jacob Stracner reached with a hit by pitch, the Cowboys used some small ball to get their first run of the game as Joe Provenzano moved them over with a sacrifice bunt and Dustin Duhon scored Selman with a sacrifice fly.

“We were playing some good small ball, which is always good when you’re struggling at the plate,” Selman said. “That helps keep the lineup going.”

Andrew Bryan then added to the lead with an RBI single that snuck into the outfield and scored Stracner. Jake Cochran then hit a double to put Bryan on third, which set up the third run of the inning that came as the result of a wild pitch.

“Whatever the moment that was presented, they did a good job today,” Hill said. “Whether it was sac bunting or stealing a base or a sac fly, they did a good job. We had two big sac flies today. Being able to score a run without a hit is huge, and we did it at least three times today.”

After giving up two runs in the top of the seventh, the Cowboys immediately got them back in the bottom frame with two runs of their own, also scored with small ball.

Bryan extended the Cowboys lead to four runs with a solo home run to lead off the eighth inning, and Rider closed it out with a one-hit ninth inning.

“I saw a 2-2 count, and the fastball was moving good,” Bryan said. “I had a good feeling about it coming right there in that count. I just took a good swing at it and it went.”

The Cowboys will return to action Tuesday when they travel to Lafayette to take on the Ragin’ Cajuns at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.

McNeese 6, Abilene Christian 2

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