[Information provided by LSU-Shreveport]
SHREVEPORT, La. – The no. 6 LSU Shreveport Pilots defeated the Red River Athletic Conference leading Northwood Knights by a final score of 16-9 on Friday night at Pilot Field in a game that started as a pitchers' duel but ended in anything but.
NU (15-6-1, 5-1-1 RRAC) started the scoring with two runs in the top of the third inning with Bryan Kinard driving in the first run with a groundout and then Adam Humes blasted an RBI-double for the second run of the inning.
LSUS (21-3, 9-3 RRAC) took the lead with a three-run fourth inning with a single from Greg Friesen and a double from Manny Estrada scoring two of the three runs of the inning. The game was back and forth for the next few innings until the Pilots had a seven-run sixth that was highlighted by a grand slam-homer from Friesen to give the Pilots a 12-5 advantage after six complete innings of play.
The Pilots' defense struggled at times but came through with some big plays when they needed them as Kym Barthel turned a double play on a line-out from Issac Maturino after Cutter Forman led off the inning with a single and then stole second. The double play cooled the rally and LSUS starter Matt Lackie struck out the final batter of the inning to keep the Pilots within striking distance.
The top of the sixth inning had another great defensive play that saved the game at the moment as Northwood had tied the game at five and was threatening with runners at second and third the batter Kinard hit a slow chopper to Barthel who made a nice bare-handed pickup and fired it to first with a strong off-balanced throw to end the threat that led to the sparking of the six-run inning for the Pilots.
Caleb Killian had a big two-out two-run pinch-hit double in the bottom of the eighth inning to extend the LSUS' lead to 16-9. Cam Ellis (1-1) picked up the win in a third of an inning of relief work for the Pilots while NU reliever Roman Gomez (1-1) suffered the loss.
Lackie will have to settle with a no-decision after five and two thirds innings of worked where he scattered five hits, four earned runs, two walks and seven strikeouts as he departed with a one run lead that didn't hold.
Jerry Lawrence worked a perfect ninth inning to seal the deal for the Pilots as they hand Northwood their first RRAC-loss of the season. Northwood slips to second place in the RRAC-standings while UT-Brownsville jumps to the top after sweeping Friday's double header with Wiley. The Pilots are in third place.
LSUS had four batters with multi-hits. Friesen led the way going three for four with five RBIs.
The Knights and Pilots will meet again tomorrow at 1 p.m. for a double header to decide the winner of the series.