Five-run 9th pushes No. 7 Nicholls past No. 2 SLU, 7-6, in Southland elimination game

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Nicholls beats SLU
(Photo: Erik Williams/Southland Conference)

Colonels plate five runs at the bottom of the ninth to eliminate second-seeded Lions

SUGAR LAND, Texas – The No. 7 Nicholls Colonels plated five ninth-inning runs against No. 2 Southeastern Louisiana to take a 7-6 win and eliminate the Lions. Nicholls advances to face No. 3 Northwestern State today at 4 p.m. CT.

Southeastern’s Carlisle Koestler and Nicholls’ Jacob Bedevian led the way for three scoreless innings to open the game with just three total hits surrendered between the two pitchers.

It wasn’t until the top of the fifth inning on just the second hit of the game for Southeastern that the Lions broke through. After a walk and a hit-by-pitch advanced Daniel Wasinger and Evan Pace, an RBI single from Brennan Breaud sent Wasinger home for a 1-0 lead with one out.

A sac fly from Cody Grosse got Pace to the plate before the inning came to a close and the Lions took a 2-0 lead to the bottom of the fifth.

Nicholls’ Xane Washington singled through to shallow left field and advanced to third on a throwing error past third base, giving the Colonels a runner in scoring position with no outs. Koestler and the Lions held off the next two batters but a passed ball on a full count with two outs allowed Washington to make it home and pull the score to 2-1 Lions.

After six innings and 89 pitches, Bedevian made way for Christian Bahlinger on the mound. Bedevian struck out two and allowed two earned runs on three hits. Koestler did the same for Peyton Lee at the stretch, having allowed four hits while striking out three on 97 pitches.

After Washington struck out swinging in Nicholls’ first at-bat at the bottom of the seventh, Dillon Belle stepped up and sent a solo homer just over the right field into the bullpen to tie the game 2-2 heading into the final two frames. Southeastern made another pitching change for the top of the ninth, bringing on left-hander Payton Robinson.

With one out atop the ninth, Grosse drove in the go-ahead run with a line drive to right field, plating Pace and advancing Trenon Trosclair to third on the throw as the Lions took a 3-2 lead. On the next at-bat, Grosse stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw, sending Trosclair to make it a 4-2 game. The Lions made it a four-run inning and a 6-2 score with a Taylor Schwaner RBI double to left center.

Jared Biddy took the mound in relief for the Lions as Nicholls stared down a four-run deficit at the bottom of the ninth. Gage Teer doubled to the left field corner to plate a run and put runners on second and third with no outs. At the next at-bat, a wild pitch went off the catcher and brought another run home to make it a 6-4 game with one out.

Two batters later and it was a one-run game after an Ethan Valdez RBI single up the middle, pulling the Colonels to 6-5 with one out and one runner on first. Another single base hit up the middle from Joey Morales put the potential game-winning run on base, followed by Chet Niehaus being hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out.

Kyle Knauth’s RBI single saw him reach on a fielder’s choice after the throw went past first base, scoring Morales and Valdez for the 7-6 win.

Southeastern is eliminated while Nicholls takes on Northwestern State at 4 p.m. today. If the Colonels win, they must play a rematch tomorrow at either 9 a.m. or 1 p.m. for a spot in the winner-take-tall championship game at 6 p.m.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
All Times Central

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
9:00 AM – Game 1 – No. 3 Northwestern State 2, No. 6 McNeese 1
12:00 PM – Game 2 – No. 2 Southeastern 4, No. 7 Nicholls 2
4:00 PM – Game 3 – No. 8 New Orleans 4, No. 1 Sam Houston State 3 (10 innings)
7:00 PM – Game 4 – No. 4 Houston Baptist 14, No. 5 Central Arkansas 4 (7 innings)

Thursday, May 24, 2018
9:00 AM – Game 5 – Nicholls 10, McNeese 4 (McNeese eliminated)
12:00 PM – Game 6 – Sam Houston State 4, Central Arkansas 2 (UCA eliminated)
4:00 PM – Game 7 – Northwestern State 5, Southeastern 1
7:00 PM – Game 8 – New Orleans 3, Houston Baptist 1

Friday, May 25, 2018
9:00 AM – Game 9 – Nicholls 7, Southeastern 6 (SLU eliminated)
12:00 PM – Game 10 – Houston Baptist 6, Sam Houston State 4 (SHSU eliminated)
4:00 PM – Game 11 – Northwestern State 3, Nicholls 2 (Nicholls eliminated)
7:00 PM – Game 12 – New Orleans vs. Houston Baptist

Saturday, May 26, 2018
9:00 AM – Game 13 – Game 11 Loser vs. Game 11 Winner*#
1:00 PM – Game 14 – Game 12 Loser vs. Game 12 Winner^#
6:00 PM – Championship – Game 13 Winner vs. Game 14 Winner+

* GAME 13 WILL BE NECESSARY IF THE WINNER OF GAME 9 ALSO WINS GAME 11.
^ GAME 14 WILL BE NECESSARY IF THE WINNER OF GAME 10 ALSO WINS GAME 12.
# IF ONLY ONE OF THE TWO EARLY GAMES IS NECESSARY ON SATURDAY, IT WILL BE PLAYED AT 1 P.M., WITH THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME STARTING AT 6 P.M.

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