McNeese rallies in 9th, downs ULM in 11th

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MONROE – McNeese made the most of a couple of ninth-inning miscues by Louisiana-Monroe to tie the game at 3-3, then scored four runs in the top of the 11th to win 7-3 and post the seventh victory in the last eight games.

The win improved the Cowboys’ record to 20-21 on the season as they’ll next host Southland Conference front-runner Sam Houston State Friday-Sunday in a series that has first place implications.

Trailing 3-1, Shane Selman snapped a 21-game home run drought to lead off the eighth inning with a solo homer, his seventh of the season, to close the gap to 3-2.

Then in the ninth and with a runner on first after Brett Whelton led things off with a single up the middle and Jacob Stracner flew out to right field for the first out, Reid Bourque popped up just to the side of the pitcher’s mound. ULM third baseman Peyton Lacoste’s attempt on the grab was mishandled and the ball fell safe.

Because of the unexpectedness of the play, Julian Gonzales, who entered to run for Whelton at first base, was still standing on first and was out by way of a force play. At the same time, Bourque advanced to second on a throwing error by the Warhawk second baseman whose putout attempt at first base sailed near the dugout.

Carson Maxwell followed with a single up the middle to score Bourque and tie the game at 3-3.

In the 11th, Stracner led things off with a single and Maxwell followed with a one out single to put the go ahead runner at second base. Joe Provenzano, who continued his torrid pace at the plate with a 3-for-5 night, walked to load the bases.

The Cowboys took a 4-3 lead when a wild pitch scored Stracner, then Zach Rider, who was pinch-hitting for Selman, singled up the middle to score two more runs to make it a 6-3 game. Mitchell Rogers then hit a sacrifice fly in the left field corner to score the seventh run before the half inning ended.

Aidan Anderson, who pitched the ninth and 10th innings of scoreless and hitless ball, picked up the victory to improve to 5-4.

Austin Briggs started the game and had his best outing of the season after he threw five shutout innings and allowed just three hits, walked one and struck out three.

ULM took a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning on one swing of the bat when first baseman Chad Bell hit a three-run, bases loaded double to put his team up.

After that, Cowboy relievers Chris Campbell, Brody Strahan, Anderson and Gavin Sonnier combined to hold ULM hitless over the final 4.2 innings.

On offense, the Cowboys put 15 hits up on the board as every player in the lineup recorded at least one base knock.

In addition to Provenzano’s game, Maxwell finished the night 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Stracner posted a 2-for-6 game.

ULM finished with six hits as Cole Gray, the fifth of six Warhawk pitchers to take the mound, took the loss and dropped to 2-3 on the season.

• Joe Provenzano recorded multiple hits for the fifth straight game and is hitting .522 (12-for-23) during that streak.
• As a team, the Cowboys have posted 10 or more hits in six of the last nine games.

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