Cowboys learn postseason fate today

The McNeese State baseball team will find out their fate today as the NCAA Baseball Tournament Selection Committee releases the bracket for the 2017 postseason at 11 a.m. on ESPN2.

The Cowboys — who won the Southland Conference regular season championship but exited the league’s tournament early — will be watching closely to find out whether their season will continue or if it has come to an end.

Going into the tournament, experts predicted that the SLC would be represented by two teams: McNeese and Southeastern Louisiana. But with both those top two seeds eliminated within three games of the tournament, Sam Houston emerged victorious and earned a bid, putting McNeese’s future in jeopardy. 

“I don’t know if that affects us or not,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “The thing is, it comes down to the committee. If you look at the number of one-run losses we had, they’re losses, but I think being the conference champion has to mean something.”

Hill said he firmly believes his team did enough during the regular season to earn a chance to extend their postseason.

The Cowboys played a tough non-conference schedule, beat some good teams and competed well against teams they lost to, Hill said.

On top of a tough schedule out of the league, they won the SLC championship for just the third time in school history, something he thinks the committee should remember when considering McNeese for an at-large bid.

“You have to believe that (the selection committee) will take that into account,” Hill said. “We’ll see if history holds true.”

The Cowboys also believe they would be good for the tournament.

Right fielder Ricky Ramirez said the high-powered McNeese offense would make them a good fit at the national stage.

“This team’s fun to watch,” Ramirez said. “I know there are a lot of fans out there that can attest to that. We fight to the end. That’s the story of the season. We’ve always just been one swing away. It happens. We’ll see.”

Cowboys third baseman Matt Gallier said he believes McNeese has done enough throughout the season to earn a chance in a regional.

“Look at who we’ve played,” Gallier said. “We don’t always have the win in the column, but we’ve shown we can play and we’ve shown we can compete with anybody. We took care of business in conference. … I think our season has spoken for itself.”

But in the end it’s not up to Gallier, Ramirez, Hill or any member of the Cowboys. With the decision out of their hands, they will just have to wait and see.

“Historically, the Southland Conference champion has been rewarded for what they’ve done in the regular season,” Hill said. “I think we have a chance to represent.”