Caleb Dugas lined a ball up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to erase a furious comeback from Nicholls in a 6-5 win for the Northwestern State baseball team Friday night in Southland Conference action at Brown-Stroud Field.
His single up the middle scored C.J. Webster, who reached on an error, from second base that put the Demons (17-12, 7-3 SLC) in a three-way tie for second place in the league standings with Nicholls (15-17, 7-3 SLC) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. McNeese State grabbed first place with two wins over Houston Baptist on Friday.
"We showed some courage tonight. We brought (Steven) Spann in to close it out, and they tie the game. (Nicholls) has a good club," said head coach Lane Burroughs. "Our guys found a way to get it done.
"Dugas is a tremendous hitter, even when he makes outs," he said. "That was their closer and he had sinking action in the low 90s, and Dugas stayed middle of the field. That's what we teach."
After Webster reached on the error to lead off the inning, Edwin Gomez used a sacrifice bunt to advance him to scoring position.
"That's the way we wanted it to line up," said Burroughs. "Webster reached base, we moved him over and had two shots to get him in and Dugas got it done."
Northwestern State took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning and held it until the ninth inning when Nicholls tied the game to force extra innings.
Edwin Gomez led off the seventh inning with a perfect bunt down the third base line, and stole second base with one out. After he took third base on a wild pitch, Dugas took a full-count hit-by-pitch. After Dugas moved up on a wild pitch, Cort Brinson was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out.
Chase Daughdrill singled up to center field to score Gomez. Dugas scored when Regan Kaufman hit a singled to deep to the shortstop, who made an errant throw to first that allowed Brinson to score.
Brandon Jackson cut the Demon lead to one in the ninth inning on a ground out to shortstop, and pinch runner Justin Holt scored on a double to left field by Philip Lyons.
Nicholls scored the game's first runs in the opening frame on a sacrifice fly from Keith Cormier (to score Lyons) and a single to right center field that scored Leo Vargas.
The Demons answered with two in the second inning. Bret Underwood led off the inning with a bunt-single down the first base line, and advanced to second base on a single from Kaufman. Nathan Lyons put down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up before Garrett Logan scored Underwood on a ground out and Gomez scored Kaufman on a single through the right side.
Nicholls took the lead again in the seventh inning on a RBI single from Lyons that scored David Zorn. It held the lead until the Demons' three-run bottom of the seventh.
Steven Spann (7-3) grabbed the win on two innings pitched, and Marc Picciola (1-3) was hit with the loss. Spann pitched two innings and allowed the two runs to tie the game in the ninth on four hits.
"We went with Spann because he is our closer, and he's been in those situations," said Burroughs. "It didn't happen tonight, but we found a way to win it in extra innings. He pitched a great tenth inning to set it up."
Adam Oller started on the mound for Northwestern State, and he pitched five innings and allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
"Oller didn't have his best stuff, but he just absolutely competed his tail off and got us through five," said Burroughs.
Joey Parrack and Andrew Adams appeared in relief and combined for three innings. Parrack pitched two innings and allowed one run on three hits with a strikeout. Andrew Adams pitched one perfect inning in the eighth.
"Parrack and Adams came in and do what they do," said Burroughs. "Adams was really good tonight."
Gomez, Daughdrill, Underwood and Kaufman all had two hits in a10-hit team effort. Dugas and Brinson each had one hit. Seven of the Demons in the starting lineup reached base in the contest.
Northwestern State and Nicholls will play a doubleheader on Saturday due to the threat of thunderstorms in the area on Sunday. The first game will take place at 12 o'clock, and the second will follow approximately 40 after its conclusion.