McNeese’s Fisbeck on fire, home run ignites five-run fifth inning

Jim Gazzolo, Special to the American Press

Nate Fisbeck had been waiting a year for the moment.

It came with one out and a runner on second in the fourth inning Tuesday night.

The McNeese State senior took a Gage Colligan pitch and blasted it deep over the wall in left at Joe Miller Ballpark. The homer scored Clayton Rasbeary and signaled Fisbeck’s slow start to the season was officially over.

Fisbeck’s first home run of the spring gave McNeese the lead for good as the Cowboys hit their way past LSU-Alexandria 16-6 in a game shortened to seven innings by the 10-run mercy rule. Pinch hitter Matt Keller was credited with the walk-off hit when he singled home a pair of runners in the with two out in the bottom of the seventh.

The win increased the Cowboys’ streak to four. McNeese (9-6) is perfect at home and winless on the road.

Zack May threw two hitless innings in relief to pick up the victory, his first decision of the season. Colligan (0-2) gave up five runs while getting one out.

“I felt like I had been seeing the ball better lately and getting better at-bats,” said Fisbeck, who had four hits on Saturday to start his comeback. “It was just great to be back out here. Any day of baseball is better than sitting on the couch.”

Fisbeck wasn’t done. He had two doubles, including a two-run drive to the wall in left in the sixth, and walked twice. He drove in five runs and scored two, raising his average 77 points to .373.

“You saw this coming with Nate,” said Cowboys head coach Justin Hill. “His at-bats were better, he looked ready to hit.”

Fisbeck saw what was supposed to be his senior season end just over a year ago when COVID-19 shut down all of college sports. But he is one of the McNeese players who came back for the extra year.

“We are really just excited to be back playing as a team,” said Fisbeck, whose double in the sixth ended a four-run rally that gave the Cowboys a 14-6 lead.

Julian Gonzales joined Fisbeck with three hits, including a triple. He also walked before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh. Gonzales scored three runs and drove in two.

In all, McNeese finished with 16 hits to go with the 16 runs, both season highs.

But it was the Generals (10-12) who started fast last night, scoring five times in the second on a pair of long home runs. Louis Morgan hit his first homer of the season, a solo shot. Kobe Baker’s blast, also his first, was a three-run shot that chased McNeese starter Brody Strahan from the hill.

Those shots, coupled with a pair of doubles, gave the Generals a 5-1 lead. Strahan struggled, getting four of the nine batters he faced with the other five scoring.

The Cowboys closed the gap to 5-3 with a pair of runs in their half of the second with Jake Dickerson getting the big hit, a double. After Brant Leslie made it 6-3 with his second homer of the season in the third, the McNeese bats came alive.

“I’m proud of the way the guys stayed calm, didn’t worry about falling behind and came back strong,” Hill said.

Five consecutive extra-base hits were highlighted by Fisbeck’s homer in the third as McNeese grabbed a 7-6 lead.

McNeese took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on doubles by Peyton Harden and Fisbeck.McNeese baseball