OMAHA – McNeese baseball took in the postgame fireworks show at TD Ameritrade Park to honor the U.S. Military on Military Appreciation Day.
The Cowboys set off their own version of fireworks early in the game as McNeese built a 5-0 lead through the first four innings then held on to win 5-3 over Creighton to win the series. The Cowboys will now go for the sweep on Sunday with the first pitch set for 12 p.m.
“Our offense did a good job of being aggressive,” said head coach Justin Hill whose Cowboys improved to 33-16 on the season, the most wins for McNeese in Hill’s four seasons at the helm. “(Starting pitcher) Rhett (Deaton) did a great job tonight and we played great defense behind him.”
Deaton improved to 8-2 after picking up the win following five innings of work where he allowed two runs on four hits and held Creighton hitless through 3 2/3 innings.
McNeese led it 2-0 in the second inning after Mitchell Rogers followed an Austin Nelson single with his sixth home run of the season. The Cowboys opened up the game with a three-run fourth inning to go up 5-0 behind three run-scoring doubles by Nelson, Will Fox and Robbie Podorsky.
Blue Jay first baseman Jason Allbery hit an infield single with two out in the fourth inning to give his team their first hit of the game. That led to three more singles and a walk that helped put Creighton on the board and cutting into the Cowboys’ lead to 5-2. Deaton then got a bases loaded strike out to end the inning without further damage.
The Cowboys had several chances to score more throughout the game but three extra-base hit saving diving grabs by Creighton outfielders robbed McNeese of any chances.
“We had a couple of ball they made great plays on or we could have stretched out the game a little more,” said Hill.
After running into trouble in the fourth inning as Creighton closed the gap to 5-2, Deaton put the Blue Jays down in order in the fifth as Tyler Wesley took over from there on the mound for the next two innings.
Creighton added a run in the sixth on a two-out single then threatened in the seventh on back-to-back two out singles. But on the latter base knock that was sliced into right field, Ricky Ramirez, Jr. fielded it on the run and threw a perfect strike to third baseman Matt Gallier who applied the tag and ended the inning.
Wesley was relieved for Trent Fontenot with one out in the eighth inning and a runner at second and Fontenot struck out the next two batters to leave the runner stranded in scoring position. He sat down three in order in the ninth, one of them being his third strike out in the five batters faced, to pick up his fifth save of the season.
“It was good to see us play well again in another tight game,” said Hill.
The Cowboys finished with nine hits in the game with Nelson going 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the hitters. Podorsky, Nelson, Fox and Shane Selman all had doubles and Rogers a home run.
Designated hitter Parker Upton and left fielder Riley Landuyt each had two of Creighton’s eight hits in the game while the top three batters in the lineup finished 0-for-12 for the contest.
Starting pitcher Jeff Albrecht took the loss and dropped to 5-4 on the season. He allowed all five runs on seven hits in six innings on the mound.
McNeese will start Aidan Anderson in Sunday’s series finale.