Late homers lift Southern past McNeese

Southern’s batters couldn’t do anything for the first five innings Tuesday night.

But they made the made the most of their late at-bats as B.J. Rowry and D.J. Wallace hit home runs in a 4-3 victory against McNeese State at Lee-Hines Field.

Cowboys starter Bryce Kingsley had a three-hit shutout, nine strikeouts and a 1-0 lead through five innings.

But in the sixth, Jose De La Torre led off with a double, ending a streak of 10 straight retired by Kingsley.

Two outs later, Tyler Kirksey singled home De La Torre and Rowry followed with his first homer of the season, giving the Jaguars a 3-1 lead.

“We started being more aggressive,” Rowry said. “We were taking too many fastballs for strikes and letting him get ahead, and then he was locating his changeup and curveball really well. I was expecting a first-pitch fastball, and that’s what I got.”

Kingsley got out of the inning when he got Robinson Mateo for his career-high 11th strikeout.

The Cowboys (12-7) tied the score on Chayse Marion’s sacrifice fly in the seventh and Lucas Quary’s solo home in the eighth.

Then it was Wallace’s turn to guess right as he hit the first pitch from Cory Lapeze (0-1) over the fence in left for his third homer of the season.

“I figured he thought I might take the first pitch and he’d try to get ahead with a fastball,” Wallace said. “I was locked and loaded and handled it pretty well.”

The Jaguars (4-9) won their second straight after losing nine in a row. They visit Grambling for a three-game series beginning with a doubleheader Saturday afternoon.

Conner Baumgardner (1-1), the sixth of seven Southern pitchers, got the victory despite allowing Quary’s tying homer in his one inning of relief.

Rafeal Diaz, who pitched 2.2 innings in getting the save in a 9-5 win at Texas Southern on Sunday, allowed just a two-out single in a scoreless ninth, earning his second save.

“My body didn’t feel 100 percent, but mentally I was ready to go out there,” Diaz said. “Coach asked me before the game if I could go an inning and I told him I could.”

Jaguars coach Roger Cador started right-hander Jacob Polk after his scheduled starter, Harold Myles, was scratched for an unspecified violation of team rules.

“He didn’t find out he was starting until about two hours before the game,” Cador said. “Given that and the fact that he’s a freshman, he did a pretty good job.”

McNeese took a 1-0 lead in the second as Matt Gallier and Cameron Toole started the inning with back-to-back singles, Hans Ask sacrificed and Andrew Guillotte hit a sacrifice fly.

Brady May relieved Polk after two innings and pitched a scoreless third. James Fontenot pitched two scoreless innings and Cade LeBlanc threw one scoreless inning before Camilo Godoy gave up one run in the seventh.

Cador said he and pitching coach Rick Greene decided to look at several pitchers after two rainouts at Texas Southern limited the work for bullpen over the weekend.

“That was one of our goals, to get the guys some work in the midweek,” Cador said. “I was very pleased with how they did.”