Winning Game 1 at all costs

The top-seeded McNeese State baseball team will begin its postseason against a team it should be familiar with in No. 8 Lamar at 4 p.m. today in the Southland Conference Tournament at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas.

The Cowboys (36-18) and Cardinals (33-23) met last weekend in the regular-season finale at Cowboy Diamond/Joe Miller Ballpark. The Cowboys clinched the series with a 16-6 victory in seven innings on Saturday.

“We feel just fine about (the rematch),” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “Our kids knew that the outcome of that game (Saturday) was going to determine who our opponent was. … I have all the respect in the world for our guys. They knew what was coming, and they didn’t care. They just wanted to play.”

McNeese, making its 16the tournament appearance, is the No. 1 seed for the third time in school history.

Hill said the most important game for the Cowboys is the one right in front of them. He said he and his team will worry about the next opponent as soon as they take care of business against the Cardinals. 

“Win the first game,” Hill said. “Whatever it takes, win the first game. We’ll deal with Game 2 once it comes. The most important game is going to be (against Lamar). To me it’s the only game that we have.”

With that sentiment in mind, Hill said he will start regular Friday starter Austin Sanders (7-2, 3.10 ERA) on the mound this afternoon.

Hill said he believes Sanders gives the Cowboys the best chance to get a tournament-opening victory. 

“When he starts, our team has had a pretty good record,” Hill said. “Just look at all the games (14) he’s pitched in. Our guys will be healthy and ready to go, and whatever the game brings us, we’ll be ready.”

Sanders gave up two earned runs on four hits and struck out four batters in seven innings against Lamar in the opening game of the series on Thursday. 

The Cowboys lineup will go against Carson Lance (7-6, 3.80 ERA). Lance has started 14 games, including Thursday’s loss when he gave up five runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. 

Behind Sanders is a bullpen full of young pitchers with potential to put together a good number of innings. 

The group includes Grant Anderson (7-0, 2.37), Peyton McLemore (1-0, 2.05) and closer Collin Kober (2-3, 3.68) with eight saves in 21 appearances. 

Hill said he hopes the deep bullpen will help the Cowboys win games deep into the tournament. 

“I hope we’re in that situation,” Hill said. “We’re prepared to do that, not only with our bullpen. I think it allows you to shorten the game early in the tournament, get that win and get ready for the next game.”

The winner of the game will play the Houston Baptist-Central Arkasas winner at 7 p.m. Thursday. The losers will meet at noon Thursday in an elimination game.

””

(Rick Hickman/American Press)

Crime

Sheriff investigating Moss Bluff homicide

Local News

Recall petition circulating for Iowa mayor

Local News

Scooter Hobbs: ACC-SEC challenge may be the future of CWS

Local News

Heavy rainfall expected this week over several days

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Pet project system is unfair

Local News

Area residents talk about their fathers

Local News

Out-of-state students spend summer vacation helping area residents

Crime

Police searching for bank robbery suspect

Local News

Jeff Davis Police Jury members vote to give themselves raises

Local News

Authorities trying to identify body found in shed

Local News

Area woman recipient of National Caregiver of Year Award

Local News

US 165 closure planned next week

Crime

1 of 2 abducted La. children found dead after mother killed

McNeese Sports

Schroyer named to national committees

Local News

17 state AGs sue Biden administration for allowing foreign farmworkers to unionize

Local News

Rounds of storms possible as tropical disturbance expected to move into Gulf

Local News

La. Supreme Court reverses ‘lookback window’ decision

life

Alligator Park closed due to high water

Business

Preserving the past: Ryan Street historic district could become reality

life

Juneteenth Freedom Festival: Family fun, fireworks, food and more in lineup for area’s 4-day celebration

Local News

Jennings City Council considering whether to increase salaries for mayor, council members

Local News

Contentious Iowa Council meeting ends with abrupt adjournment

life

Feel the Wheels at the Moss Bluff Library

Local News

NBA great Jerry West dies at 86