HAMMOND – The Northwestern State baseball team, who still has a chance for a share of the Southland Conference Championship, is set to open its final series of the 2014 season on Thursday at 6 o'clock at Southeastern Louisiana in league action.
The second game of the three-game set is scheduled for 6:00 on Friday, and the finale is on Saturday at 2 o'clock.
The Demons (30-22, 18-9 SLC) would have to sweep the Lions (31-22, 16-11), and have help from both Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Sam Houston State, who are playing each other. Neither the Islanders nor Bearkats could sweep their series for Northwestern State to have a shot to capture its first championship since 2005.
Both the Islanders and Bearkats are tied for first place and are one game ahead of NSU and Nicholls. Northwestern State, which has won eight of its nine series played, holds the tiebreakers over Sam Houston and Nicholls.
"Southeastern has a good club. Matt (Riser) has done a great job in his first year," said Demon baseball head coach Lane Burroughs. "We can't worry about what is going on with Sam Houston and Corpus, we just have to worry about what we're doing and the big task ahead of us.
"We're going to go down there to play our best and play hard. I have all the confidence in the world in our guys," he said. "We're in a great position. First thing is that we have to be 1-0 after Friday, and then 1-0 after Saturday."
Adam Oller (5-1, 2.12 earned run average) is slated to start the first game on the hill for the Demons. The freshman right-hander has 14 appearances with 11 starts this season, and has pitched 80.2 innings.
His older brother Josh Oller (3-1, 3.40) will take the mound on Saturday. He has appeared in 13 games with eight starts, and has 50.1 innings pitched.
"Now that we are officially in the tournament, we have to keep our pitching rotation in mind," said Burroughs. "It's a short week. Our goal is to move on, win the conference tournament and get into a regional.
"Yeah, we want to win the league, but you have to think about the tournament that is looming on a really short week," he said.
Tate Scioneaux (6-5, 3.52) will start Thursday night's game for Southeastern Louisiana. He has 13 appearances, all starts, and 87 innings pitched. Starters for Friday and Saturday's game are still to be determined.
Chase Daughdrill leads NSU at the plate with .306 batting average, and Bret Underwood (.303) and Caleb Dugas (.297) follow him. Daughdrill has 37 runs batted in on the season, and Dugas has 37 runs scored.
Reigning Player of the Week Jameson Fisher leads SLU at the plate with a .386 batting average and 43 runs scored. Andrew Godbold, who holds a .347 average, leads the Lions with 46 runs batted in. Brett Hoffman (.327) and Daniel Midyett (.308) both are hitting above the .300 mark.
Northwestern State can finish as high as the top seed or as low as the sixth seed of the eight-team Southland Conference Tournament with the last weekend to play. The league tournament is in Conway, Ark. and is set to begin on May 21.