WO-S’ Anderson earns SLC Tourney MVP as McNeese heads to NCAAs

Published 8:45 am Tuesday, May 28, 2019

SUGAR LAND- The McNeese Cowboys baseball team won their first Southland Conference Tournament Championship since 2003 on Saturday night after defeating the Central Arkansas Bears 4-2 in Sugar Land.

With the win, the Cowboys have earned the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

McNeese (35-24) rolled through the tournament field, winning four straight games without a defeat while holding its opponents to a total of eight runs.

“We’ve come a long way,” said head coach Justin Hill. “The boys did a great job. They could’ve packed it in early when a lot of tight ball games didn’t go our way. But the character and resiliency showed for our team. We got hot at the right time.”

Aidan Anderson, who entered the game in relief of starter Bryan King with two outs in the top of the fourth inning and the bases loaded, notched his second win of the tourney and was named tournament MVP.

Anderson (7-6) threw 3 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit and one run while striking out five. Will Dion picked up his seventh save of the season by throwing the final 1.2 innings of scoreless ball.

UCA (32-26) struck first in the top of the fourth inning, scoring one run from a single through the right side of the infield to make it 1-0.

The Cowboys didn’t let the Bears have the lead long, scoring one run of their own in the bottom of the inning on a Julian Gonzales infield single through the middle of the infield to plate Jake Dickerson after he led the inning off with a single and advanced to third on Carson Maxwell’s bloop single to right field.

In the bottom of the seventh and the score still 1-1, McNeese had the game deciding inning by plating three runs. Dustin Duhon lead off with a double to left center then was followed by a Reid Bourque single to put runners on the corners. The first run came in on a Payton Harden fielder’s choice to put the Cowboys up 2-1.

After taking second on the throwing error, Nate Fisbeck hit an infield single to the shortstop and advanced on an error by the third baseman. With runners on second and third with one out, Clayton Rasbeary knocked in two runs with a single up the middle to give the Cowboys a 4-1 lead.

In addition to Anderson picking up MVP honors and all-tournament accolades, Dickerson and Fisbeck were also named to the all-tourney team.

The Cowboys will be heading to Music City U.S.A. when on Monday, the team learned of its destination host for the 2019 NCAA Tournament – the Vanderbilt Commodores and Nashville Regional.


The Cowboys (35-24) captured the Southland Conference’s automatic berth after cruising through the league tournament with a perfect 4-0 mark.


McNeese will be the No. 3 seed in the regional and will face No. 2 Indiana State (41-16) on Friday at noon CT. The game will broadcast live on ESPN3. The Sycamores won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament to land the auto bid, and did so by taking two games from nationally ranked and No. 1 seed Dallas Baptist in the tournament championship.


The winner of the first round game will play the winner of No. 1 seed Vanderbilt (49-10), the tournament’s No. 2 overall seed, and fourth-seed Ohio State (35-25), the Big Ten Tournament champion.


“I told somebody last weekend, I didn’t care if we were being sent to Baghdad,” said head coach Justin Hill whose Cowboys have two league titles in the past three seasons (2017 regular season). “It’s a great regional with Vanderbilt as the host. We have a lot of respect for them but that’s not who we play first.


“We have Indiana State. It’s good to see them get rewarded for their great season. I don’t know much about them.”


With the title game win over UCA on Saturday night, Hill matched former coach Hubert Boales with 190 career victories as the second-winningest coach in school history.


The Cowboys are 2-1 all-time vs. Indiana State with the last game coming in 2004. McNeese is also 2-1 against Ohio State with the last matchup also in 2004. McNeese has never played Vanderbilt.


Tickets for the Nashville Regional can be purchased through the Vanderbilt athletic website.