No. 3-seeded Lions stay alive, knock out No. 7-seeded Northwestern State

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SUGAR LAND, Texas – No. 3-seeded Southeastern Louisiana broke open a tie game with a four-run fifth inning, holding on to eliminate No. 7-seeded Northwestern State from the Southland Conference Tournament, 6-4, Thursday at Constellation Field.

Southeastern (31-26) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, but the Demons (30-25) answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to jump out in front.

The Lions tied the game in the fourth. Nathan Pilutti led off the inning with a single up the middle, advancing to second on a groundout. Nick Ray worked a walk and Trey Harrington reached on an error by the Northwestern State shortstop, loading the bases with one out. With Pilutti breaking for home, Connor Manola pushed a squeeze bunt up the first-base line to plate the tying run.

Breaking the game open in the fifth, Southeastern provided starting pitcher Mason Knopp (8-2) with a cushion. Preston Faulkner drove a one-out single to right field and Kyle Schimpf worked a walk. Pilutti dropped a single just inside the right-field line, plating Faulkner for the lead. With runners on the corners, Brennan Breaud singled through the left side to drive in Schimpf and chase Demon starting pitcher Ridge Heisler (4-6) from the game.

Reliever Jerry Maddox got Ray to fly out before Harrington lined a two-run double over the head of the right fielder.

Northwestern State attempted to jump back in the game, scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh, but Jared Biddy shut the door over the final 2.1 innings to earn his 11th save of the season.

Knopp earned the win, allowing three runs in six innings pitched. Heisler suffered the loss, coughing up six runs – five earned – in 4.1 innings.

Faulkner (2-for-4), Harrington (2-for-4) and Pilutti (2-for-4) each turned in a multihit performance at the plate.

The Lions face another 9 a.m. elimination game Friday, squaring off against the loser of Thursday afternoon’s Central Arkansas/Stephen F. Austin matchup. The winner of Friday’s morning game will face the UCA/SFA winner later in the day at 4 p.m.

All of Southeastern’s games in the tournament can be heard in the Hammond, Louisiana, area on the flagship station of the Southeastern Sports Radio Network, KSLU 90.9 FM, online at www.LionSports.net/ListenLive and via both the Lions Gameday Experience and TuneIn Radio apps.

Fans can also keep up with all the action through live statistics or by following @SLUathletics on Twitter. Web links to audio, video and stats are available on the baseball schedule page at www.LionSports.net.

Every tournament game will be streamed live on ESPN+, www.ESPN.com/watch and the ESPN app.

TOURNAMENT TICKETS
Tickets for the 2019 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament are on sale through the TDECU Ticket Office at Constellation Field (1 Stadium Drive, Sugar Land, Texas, 77498), by phone at (281) 240-4487 or online at www.southland.org/baseball.

LIONS GAMEDAY EXPERIENCE APP
The new Lions Gameday Experience app puts audio, stats, video, social media and more in the hands of fans. Those in attendance can also check in to earn reward points redeemable for Southeastern-related prizes. Available for both Android and iOS devices, it can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

DIAMOND CLUB / S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the baseball program are encouraged to join the Diamond Club. Lion baseball alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners.

All membership fees and donations to both the Diamond Club and S Club (baseball) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern baseball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at [email protected] or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on Lions Baseball, follow @LionUpBaseball or @MattRiser17 on Twitter, @LionUpBaseball on Instagram and Facebook, and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

LINESCORE
Southeastern 6, Northwestern State 4
———————————————————————-
Southeastern………… 001 140 000 – 6 9 1 (31-26)
Northwestern State.. 002 001 100 – 4 9 3 (30-25)
———————————————————————-
Pitchers: Southeastern – Knopp, Mason; Upton, Grant (7); Robinson, Payton (7); Biddy, Jared (7) and Manola, Connor. Northwestern State – Heisler, Ridge; Maddox, Jerry (5); Pigott, Tyler (8); Reich, Austin (9) and Skinner, Marshall.

Win-Knopp, Mason (8-2) Save-Biddy, Jared (11) Loss-Heisler, Ridge (4-6) T-3:20
Weather: 81, Cloudy, Winds SSE 14 mph
Robinson, P. faced 2 batters in the 7th.

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