McNeese hammers HBU by run-rule again with Southland title in reach

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McNeese baseball swing 2022

HOUSTON – Something about Cowboys in Texas.

For the second straight day, the McNeese Cowboys left no doubt.

Kade Hunter’s career day led the McNeese offensive push as he hit two home runs (including a grand slam) and six RBI, as McNeese (29-21, 14-9 SLC) took down Houston Baptist (18-33, 11-12 SLC) in seven innings, Friday afternoon at Husky Field.

The Cowboys scored two runs in the first and third, and 12 between the fourth and fifth inning.

The Cowboy’s 16 runs came on 12 hits led by the aforementioned Kade Hunter (3-3, 2-HR, 6-RBI). Andruw Gonzales was 3-3 with a double and two-RBI, Braden Duhon was 2-4 with a double and two-RBI, and Brad Burckel added a 1-3 day with a home run and two runs batted in.

“It felt good to get that first one, it had been a while since I got a hold of one like that, obviously it puts us in a good position going forward,” said Kade Hunter. (On blowing the game open) “I think a grand slam can take the wind out of anybody, four runs are a big blow when you have a guy like Burrell Jones on the mound who can make runs tough to come by for the opposition.”

Burrell Jones (3-0), who entered the game with two outs in the first, picked up the victory by firing 3.1 innings of relief while allowing just two runs and fanning five. Andrew Sheridan went the final three innings to pick up the first save of his career.

Jared Burch (1-4) was charged the loss for HBU, Burch allowed seven runs, five earned, on five hits in 3.0 innings.

Brad Burckel’s RBI groundout plated Braden Duhon to open the scoring for McNeese, Josh Leslie would follow with a two-out RBI single to right-center.

After a two-run homer by HBU that would even the score in the first, the Pokes would score the next 14 runs.

Kade Hunter and Brad Burckel hit back-to-back solo shots in the fourth to put McNeese up 4-2, the first pair of teammates to do so this season for McNeese. Burckel’s homer tied him for the team lead with eight.

Braden Duhon doubled in Reid Bourque and Andruw Gonzales in the fourth, Payton Harden and Kade Hunter each contributed a sac-fly in the frame.

The Cowboys used an 8-run fifth inning to blow the game open, scoring six of those before an out was recorded. Kade Morris and Harden both drove in runs with singles, Kade Hunter hit a grand-slam to dead-center, and Andruw Gonzales capped the inning off with a 2-run double.

With other conference results Friday, McNeese clinched a top 2 seed and hosting duties for the first weekend of the Southland Tournament.

Remaining Seeding and SLC Title Scenarios:
Clinch No. 1 seed and a share of regular-season title with a win Saturday OR Southeastern loss (Lions play doubleheader Saturday at Nicholls).
Clinch the outright regular-season title with win Saturday and one SLU loss OR a loss and two SLU losses.

Coach Hill Counter:
Today’s victory was career victory no. 261 for Head Coach Justin Hill, two shy of tying the all-time record of 263 held by the late Tony Robichaux.

Stay Connected:
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Next Game:
The Cowboys look to sweep the series Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. on ESPN+.

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