HAMMOND – Andrew Godbold's two-run home run in the fifth inning sparked back-to-back big innings, including a seven-run sixth frame that led Southeastern Louisiana to a 12-4 win over the Northwestern State baseball team to eliminate the Demons from Southland Conference championship contention Friday night at Alumni Field.
The rubber match between the Lions (32-23, 17-12 SLC) and Demons (31-23, 19-10 SLC) is slated for 2 o'clock on Saturday. It will be the final contest of the 2014 regular season for both teams. Both teams will advance to the Southland Conference Tournament, and the Demons can finish with the second, third or fourth seeds.
"The seven-spot is what really hurt us," said Demon head coach Lane Burroughs. "When Josh got hit with the line drive I think it shook us up. We didn't play clean baseball in the next inning. I thought we squared up some baseballs, but we just played bad baseball in the one inning."
Josh Oller (3-2) allowed leadoff double to Jacob Seward in the fifth inning, and took a line drive off of his body in the next at at-bat. Edwin Gomez still turned it into an out, but Godbold hit one over the left center field wall in the next at-bat to break open a 2-2 game. Brett Hoffman scored the third run of the frame on a sacrifice fly to center field from Kennon Menard.
"He took a line drive, and we are so glad he's okay," said Burroughs. "He's a tough kid, and seemed okay. Godbold was going to be his last hitter to begin with, and he just happened to hit a home run.
"He left the pitch up and the guy hit it out of the yard," he said. "I'd take Josh being okay over a win every day of the week."
Seward, who was 2-for-5 with three runs scored, reached base first on a one-out double down the left field line in the sixth. NSU intentionally walked Jameson Fisher with an open base at first, and then intentionally walked Godbold after falling behind him with a 3-1 count.
A sacrifice fly from Hoffman and three straight singles from Daniel Midyett, Sam Roberson and Menard scored four runs. After a hit by pitch, single and error, the Lions pushed across three more to make it 12-3.
Southeastern Louisiana jumped on the board in the first inning with two runs on two hits. Seward led it off with a hit by pitch, and took third base on a single through the right side from Fisher. Fisher took second on a passed ball before a single from Godbold scored Seward. Fisher scored from third base on a double play ball.
NSU cut the Lion lead to 2-1 in the second inning on a single through the left side from Chase Daughdrill that scored Cort Brinson. Brinson led off the inning with a double that hit the center field wall. In the fourth frame, the Demons tied it on a sacrifice fly to center field from Caleb Dugas. He scored Bret Underwood who doubled to right center to lead off the inning.
Northwestern Stated added another run in the ninth inning after Southeastern Louisiana loaded the bases on three straight walks. Nathan Lyons put up a sacrifice fly to center field and scored Dugas.
"The score doesn't indicate it, but we took some tremendous swings tonight," said Burroughs. "I'm proud of our hitters. I thought we squared up some balls, but they were just right at people."
Oller took the loss after he pitched 4.1 innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and three strikeouts. Parrack took over in the fifth and gave up one hit and walked one.
"I thought he minimized in the first inning. He competed his tail off, and the first inning could've been so much worse, said Burroughs. "
Evan Tidwell worked one inning and gave up seven runs (six earned) on five hits and two walks. Devin Bear and Nathan Aultman each tossed one scoreless inning, and gave up one hit.
Sean Kennel (5-3) earned the win in seven innings pitched. He gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits, and struck out five. Matt Pittari and Mason Klotz each pitched an inning, and Klotz allowed one run.
SLU outhit the Demons 16-6. NSU was led by at the plate by Underwood and Brinson, who each had two hits. Daughdrill and Joel Atkinson also added hits in the contest.
Six Lions (Seward, Fisher, Godbold, Midyett, Menard and Cedotal) had mulit-hit games, and Menard led the way with three base knocks.