LAKE CHARLES — The McNeese Cowboys shutout No. 2 seed Incarnate Word in an elimination game Thursday at the Southland Conference Tournament at Joe Miller Ballpark.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
After two scoreless innings, McNeese got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning.
Taylor Darden hit a one-out double to left centerfield and advanced to third on a single by Schuyler Thibodaux. Payton Harden’s bunt attempt was popped up for the second out.
Brad Burckel took the first pitch he saw and drove it into left centerfield which allowed Darden to score. Josh Leslie then managed to drove in both Thibodaux and Burckel with a double down the left field line.
UIW threatened in the top of the fourth with back-to-back singles by Hernan Yanez and Jimmy DeLeon. A fielder’s choice for the next batter got the first out and then Bryson Hudgens got Cameron Crotte to fly out and the Cowboys turned the double play as Yanez was thrown out at home.
Even though McNeese was able to get anything going offensively after the third inning, the three runs proved to be enough.
UIW would only threaten to score once more in the top of the eighth.
The Cardinals got a leadoff single but Cowboys relief pitcher Brock Barthelemy struck out the next batters, walked the third but then closed things out with another strikeout.
BIG NUMBER: 3
The McNeese Cowboys scored all three of their runs in Thursday’s win in the third inning, and the No. 3 hole hitter Josh Leslie drove in two of those three.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: BRYSON HUDGENS & JOSH LESLIE
Bryson Hudgens threw six shutout innings as he scattered five hits, struck out two hitters while walking none. Leslie came up with the biggest hit of the day with his 2-RBI double in the third inning.
UP NEXT: McNeese (35-22) will play either Northwestern State or University of New Orleans in an elimination game on Friday. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.