May 22, 2014
CONWAY, Ark. - After seeing Lamar battle back to tie the game up for a second time on Thursday morning, Northwestern State's Caleb Dugas knocked a two-run homer to left in the top of the ninth as the Demons eliminated the Cards from the Southland Tournament in 10-8 fashion at Bear Stadium on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas.
The loss ended the season for the Red and White, which finish with an overall record of 31-24. NSU improved to 32-25 and advanced to the next round of play on Friday at the Southland Tournament.
LU, which has made its living in the opening stanza for much of the season, got on board first as doubles from both Sam Bumpers and Jacoby Middleton brought home scores.
Bumpers, the Southland Hitter of the Year, finished the morning 3-for-5 with a conference tournament record-tying three doubles and three runs batted in. Middleton, as well as the trio of Jude Vidrine, Reed Seeley and Tyler West, finished 2-for-5, and the Cards out-hit the Demons 14-10 with six doubles.
Bumpers, who ends the season with a .366 batting average, was 7-for-10 at the plate in LU's two games at Bear Stadium this week.
The initial lead proved short-lived as a Nick Heath single and errant Mason Salazar throw extended the top of the second inning and allowed the Demons to push their first run across home plate. CJ Webster followed up moments later with a two-run blast over the wall in left to give the Demons the 3-2 advantage.
After LU surrendered another score in the ensuing frame, a Provost walk and another Middleton double put two in scoring position for LU. Kyle Markum
cashed in the first with a groundout to short, and West continued his strong recent form with a single to center to tie it up at 4-4.
LU starting pitcher David Carver would leave the mound prior to the fifth, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits in four innings of work. Hunter Perry took over in his stead and allowed four runs (two earned) in two innings of work.
NSU would add two more scores on a two-out single in the sixth, and a throwing error by Provost allowed another to score.
Salazar took advantage of an opportunity for redemption in the sixth as he doubled to left to plate West and Markum and cut the deficit back to one at 7-6.
The Demons added one more in the seventh, but Bumpers struck for his third double of the day to tie it back up in the eighth, bringing home both Seeley and Vidrine, who led the frame off with singles.
LU relief pitchers Derek Wade and Danny Fernandez held the Demons bats at bay, but Andrew Beasley was unable to make it a third consecutive scoreless frame as Dugas sent the first pitch he saw over the wall in left. Beasley, who was playing in his final game as a Card, fell to 1-1 on the year.