McNeese, having won five of last six, travels to La.-Monroe

<p>McNeese’s Reid Bourque applies the tag during a stolen base attempt by Northwestern’s Peyton Davis during their Southland Conference game at Joe Miller Ballpark in Lake Charles, La., Sunday, April 22, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)</p>Rick HickmanRickHickmanPhotographer
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<p class="p1">The McNeese State baseball team will try to build some momentum while preserving arms going into its pivotal weekend series with Sam Houston State when it travels to take on Louisiana-Monroe Tuesday at 6 p.m.

<p class="p1">The Cowboy (19-21) enter the game having won five of their last six games, while the Warhawks (18-21) have struggled as of late, losing six of their last seven. 

<p class="p1">“We have two teams with two different things going on,” said Mcneese head coach Justin Hill. “I know they have a big weekend against Coastal Carolina… and we’re both wanting to see they same thing. We both want our position guys to play well and our pitching staff to compete in the zone.”

<p class="p1">Hill said after this past weekend, Cayne Ueckert and Zach Rider will both be unavailable as they still need to rest up after extended play against Northwestern State last weekend. 

<p class="p1">Austin Briggs (0-2, 9.60 ERA) will get the start for the Cowboys, and Hill said the coaching staff plans on letting him go for as long as he can. 

<p class="p1">“We know he’s going to go in there and compete,” Hill said of Briggs. “He had a tough go of things against HBU. They were swinging the bats as well as anybody at that moment. But he bounced back pretty well on Saturday and he’s earned an opportunity to go back out there and do it again.”

<p class="p1">Briggs pitched a perfect inning that only required eight pitches in McNeese’s 9-4 loss to NSU on Saturday. 

<p class="p1">Hill said he will also likely use Peyton McLemore in a limited role, as well as Chris Campbell. 

<p class="p1">Hill is no stranger to the ULM program and area, as he grew up and went to West Monroe High School and spent some time as an assistant for the Warhawks before becoming the Cowboys’ head coach. 

<p class="p1">McNeese’s trip to Warhawk Field went about as well as conceivably possible as the Cowboy won by the astounding score of 32-4 in a night in which they broke five program records. 

<p class="p1">Hill said he looks forward to returning home, but he doesn’t plan on his team allowing last year’s success dictate how they play in 2018. 

<p class="p1">“That’s where my family is, so it’s always nice to see them before and after the game,” Hill said. “It’s never fun playing your friends. I know those guys on that staff pretty well.”

<p class="p1">Johnny DeLaCruz leads the Warhawks at the plate with a .309 battinga verage that includes 11 doubles and a pair of home runs. ULM spreads the wealth as far as power hitting is concerned as five Warhawks athletes have four home runs this season. 

<p class="p1">The Warhawks have not announced  a starting pitcher for the bout. 

<p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>McNeese at La.-Monroe, </strong></span><strong>6 p.m.</strong>

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