Rogers gets win to become first pitcher in McNeese history to start 10-0

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Grant Rogers

LAKE CHARLES – McNeese starting pitcher Grant Rogers made school history on Friday when he became the first pitcher to ever start a season 10-0 when he led the Cowboys to a 6-4 win over Lamar in the first game of a Southland Conference baseball series.

Rogers was nearly flawless in his eight innings of work, tossing a shutout through 7.2 innings until Lamar catcher Ryan Snell homered to put the Cardinals on the board. Snell, the league’s home run leader with 15, was Rogers’ catcher in junior college.

The win improved McNeese’s record to 29-15 overall and 10-9 in conference play. Lamar fell to 26-19 and 9-10. The series will continue on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Rogers retired the first seven batters faced and allowed seven hits and one run in the game. He struck out five and walked two while throwing 117 pitches.

Offensively, the Cowboys finished with eight hits with three of those going over the wall.

Josh Leslie got the scoring started with a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the first, his sixth homer of the season. In the fourth, both Payton Harden and Cooper Hext belted two-out, two-run home runs to put the Cowboys up 5-0. It was Harden’s second and Hext’s team-leading seventh round tripper of the season.

Snell’s dinger made it a 5-1 game after 7 ½ but the Cowboys got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Brad Burckel hit a one-out double then scored on a two-out single by Andruw Gonzales to make it 6-1.

Cameron Lejeune replaced Rogers in the ninth inning and gave up a two-out, three-run home run by Kevin Bermudez which cut the lead to 6-4. Ty Abraham relieved Lejeune and picked up his fourth save of the season after striking out Snell, who was the tying run at the plate.

Harden finished 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs while Braden Duhon recorded a 2-for-4 game with a double.

Lamar starting pitcher Jacob Ellis (3-3) took the loss after he allowed five runs on four hits, walked three and struck out six.

Postgame Notes:
• McNeese hit three home runs in a game the third time this season (at UT Arlington, Feb. 25; vs. Nicholls, Mar. 24).
• All 10 runs in the game were scored with two outs.
• With two hits in the game, Payton Harden increased his career total to 298, moving him into third all-time in Southland Conference history and two hits from becoming just the second player in school history to record 300 career hits. The record is 337 held by Michael Rockett of UTSA (2006-2009).
• McNeese is 22-0 when leading after the eighth inning this season.

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