WO-S grad Anderson throws gem as Pokes topple UIW

Published 8:58 am Thursday, May 23, 2019

SUGAR LAND- McNeese starting pitcher and former West Orange-Stark standout Aidan Anderson, along with great defensive play behind him, tossed his first career complete game in leading the Cowboys to a 2-1 victory over Incarnate Word in the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament Wednesday night.

The win advanced No. 5-seed McNeese (32-24) into the winner’s bracket where they will take on No. 8 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Islanders stunned top-seed Sam Houston State 2-1 earlier in the day. UIW (35-21), the No. 4 seed, will take on the Bearkats at noon in an elimination game. The Cowboys won their tournament opener for the third time in the last four seasons.

Anderson (6-6) allowed just five hits against the Cardinals while walking two and striking out four. He threw 133 pitches in the contest and faced and the minimum in the final 6.1 innings pitched.

“Aidan was special tonight,” said head coach Justin Hill. “Our defense was outstanding and we got the timely hits. But give that team (UIW) credit. They are a great team.

“I was going to take him out in the ninth and he’s never talked me out of taking him out, but his team convinced me tonight.”

Incarnate Word (35-21) scored the game’s first run in the second inning on a sacrifice fly out to right field to take the early 1-0 lead.

After the second inning, McNeese controlled the game both offensively and defensively.

In the fifth, Julian Gonzales reached base after getting hit-by-pitch, took second on a groundout to third base and third on a wild pitch. Gonzales scored on a sacrifice fly out to right field to tie the game at 1-1.

In the next inning, McNeese loaded the bases with no outs and then Carson Maxwell plated the eventual game-winning run on a deep sac fly to center field for the 2-1 lead.

In the final three innings, Anderson was masterful, setting down eight straight Cardinals batters before allowing a walk and a fly out to end the game.