CONWAY, Ark. – Andrew Godbold's bases loaded, two-out double to left center in the fourth inning cleared the bases and capped off a three-run fourth inning that led Southeastern Louisiana to a 5-3 win over the Northwestern State baseball team Wednesday morning in the first game of the Southland Conference Tournament.
The Demons (31-25) will face the Lamar at 9 o'clock Thursday morning in the first elimination game of the tournament. The Lions (34-23) advanced to the winner's round and will play Sam Houston State at four o'clock Thursday.
"Our guys battled and rallied late, but it was not in the cards for us today," said Demon head coach Lane Burroughs. "I'm proud of our guys for fighting back.
"Our guys have responded and been resilient all year," said the second-year skipper. "It's win or go home now. We cannot sit back and save guys because now there is no tomorrow if you don't win. Our guys will come out and play hard."
Godbold, who finished the contest with two hits in four at-bats and four runs batted in, scored Jacob Williams, Jacob Seward and Jameson Fisher on his double with a ball and strike for the count.
Adam Oller (6-2) sat down the first two batters of the fourth frame, but hit Williams with the first pitch with two outs. After Williams, he walked Seward on a full count and walked Jameson Fisher on a 3-1 count.
"With bases empty and two outs, we hit a guy and walk two. (The Lions) best hitter splits a gap, and that is what best hitters are supposed to do," said Burroughs.
Oller took the loss on 5.2 innings pitched, and allowed four runs on six hits and four walks with four strikeouts. He allowed a run in the first inning on a Godbold single up the middle that scored Seward. The freshman retired the side in order in the fifth, and faced four batters in the third and sixth innings.
"Adam has been great for us all year. I sound like a broken record, but once again he did not have his best stuff and still battled and competed," said Burroughs.
Down 4-2, the Demons had a chance to push across some runs in the eighth inning when Edwin Gomez reached on a one-out error and Underwood on an infield single. Caleb Dugas rocketed a laser to SLU's Brett Hoffman, who was able to corral it and tossed to second for two.
"We rallied, and our guys continue to fight back," said the second-year skipper. "Dugas lined one to third base, and their guy made the play. He crushed it, and if it is one inch above his glove we would have tied the game there."
NSU rallied in the ninth inning down 5-3 when Chase Daughdrill squared a one-out triple to center field, and scored on a Nathan Lyons ground out. Nick Heath and Regan Kaufman each singled, but were stranded when C.J. Webster hit a bouncer up the middle that the pitcher was able to secure and toss over to end it.
Lyons scored the first two Demons run in the second and fourth innings. The first he scored was from third base on a ground out from Joel Atkinson, and the second was from second on a single from Heath.
He reached on a walk in the second, and took second base on a wild pitch. Heath, who finished with three hits in four trips, poked a single that fell between three Lions down the left field line that advanced Lyons to third base.
Lyons reached on a two-out single to right field in the fourth, and took second base on a wild pitch for the second time.
Andro Cutura (10-2) tossed eight innings and allowed two runs on six hits and walked only one batter. Dylan Hills earned his fifth save of the season in the ninth inning.
Austin Tanner relieved Oller in the sixth inning and sat down the only batter he faced in the game. Joey Parrack faced two batters, and walked both of them. Reid Peavy pitched 1.2 innings and gave up two hits and intentionally walked one, and Brandon Smith finished the game with 1.1 innings pitched with one run on two hits.
The Demon pitching staff stranded 11 Lions on base, and seven of them were in scoring position.
Southeastern outhit the Demons 10-9, and were led by Godbold and Kennon Menard. Aside from Heath's three hits, NSU got base knocks from Underwood, Dugas, Cort Brinson, Daughdrill, Lyons and Kaufman.
"We're still focused on winning this, but know the odds are stacked against us now," said Burroughs. "We're going to come out tomorrow and play hard and fight for it."
Patrick Netherton will have Thursday's call on 100.7-KZBL in Natchitoches, and it will be live streamed at NSUDemons.com. The Southland Conference offers a video feed on the SLC Digital Channel at Southland.org. ?