Cowboys prevent one from getting away

Grant Anderson, Cowboys starting pitcher lasts eight innings. 

(Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick HickmanRickHickmanPhotographer
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{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<p>McNeese 2, Northwestern St. 1</p>” id=”7da8a60a-4afb-4560-82a0-f68c22210f62″ style-type=”fact” title=”13 INNINGS” type=”relcontent”}}

The McNeese State baseball team won a 13-inning pitchers’ duel Friday night at Joe Miller Ballpark thanks to solid pitching from the Anderson brothers and a walk-off double by Joe Provenzano.

The Cowboys (18-20, 13-6 Southland Conference) were lifted with an eight-inning start from Grant Anderson followed by five shutout innings by twin Aidan Anderson in the extrainnings thriller against the Demons (20-17, 8-8).

“Grant Anderson and Aidan Anderson get lumped together a lot,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “Those guys are their own people and that was a warrior effort tonight. You can’t describe it any other way.”

McNeese led throughout the game after getting a run in the first inning thanks to an error by NSU first baseman David Fry that allowed Reid Bourque to score from second base.

The score remained 1-0 until the ninth inning when the Demons tied the score with a oneout sacrifice fly by Lenni Kunert that scored Larson Fontenot, who reached base after getting hit by a Grant Anderson pitch.

Fontenot was Anderson’s last batter of the evening after he went eight innings in which he gave up one run on three hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.

“I’m probably kicking myself a little bit for sending him out for the ninth,” Hill said. “He was good, but he just lost a little bit of command. But he’s in great shape. I wasn’t worried about him getting hurt or anything like that.”

He was replaced by Aidan Anderson, who allowed Fontenot to get around the bases to tie the score and ultimately force extra innings.

It looked as if the Cowboys would end it in the bottom of the ninth inning as Mitchell Rogers hit a leadoff double and Hunter Racca reached third on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Cochran.

But with the winning run on third with no outs, Jacob Stracner and Welles Cooley both struck out swinging before Carson Maxwell flied out to right field to end the inning.

The Cowboys struggled getting runners around the bases throughout the game. They stranded six runners in scoring position though the first nine innings.

They had similar opportunities to score in the first inning when they left the bases loaded after getting a runner to third base with one out, and again in the sixth inning when they stranded two runners in scoring position who got there with one out.

“We had too many opportunities tonight,” Hill said. “Credit them. I thought (NSU starting pitcher Ridge) Heisler was good. So was (reliever Danny Hlad). They punched us out in big moments. I though they did a great job.”

The Cowboys took advantage of a positive situation when Shane Selman reached on an error by relief pitcher David Hodo then got to second on a wild pitch. Provenzano hit a double into left field that ended the game and gave the Cowboys an edge going into today’s Game 2.

“That was a big swing right there,” Hill said. “If you stay in it long enough, good things happen. If you do the right things, that’s what good hitters do.”

The Cowboys and Demons will return to Joe Miller Ballpark at 1 p.m. today in a game that was moved up two hours in anticipation of inclement weather.

 
 

McNeese 2, Northwestern St. 1

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