A ninth inning rally from the Northwestern State baseball team was stopped by Central Arkansas to help secure the Bears a 7-4 win over the Demons on the backs of two big innings Sunday afternoon in Southland Conference action.
Down 7-3, Northwestern State (10-23, 1-8 SLC) loaded the bases with two outs when Todd Wallace hit a single through the left side to score Toby Cornejo, and Nick Purdy struck out swinging in the next at-bat to secure the game and series win for UCA (23-8, 4-5 SLC).
"I thought our energy in the dugout and our approach today at the plate was as good as it has been in a long time. I'm proud of our guys and can live with this loss because everyone was in the game and trying to win it," said head coach Lane Burroughs. "We put ourselves in position to win it at the end, and we battled, scratched, and clawed. Nick Purdy was at the plate, and we like him as much as anybody in the country but the other guy won. It happens; you have to be able to deal with it."
The Bears got five of their runs with a three-run third inning, and a two-run seventh frame.
Chris Townsend started third with a one-out single down the right field line and took second after Forrestt Allday laid down a bunt-single to second base.
Andrew Adams (0-5) loaded the bases with a hit-by-pitch to Blake Marchal, and allowed the Townsend after he walked Jonathan Davis. Allday scored on a groundball from Garrett Brown, and Marchal scored from third base a wild pitch.
Adams, who started the game for NSU, pitched three innings and gave up three runs on two hits, three walks, and two strikeouts.
After adding a run in the fourth inning, UCA knocked in two more in the seventh inning. Allday scored on a bases-loaded walk to Ethan Harris, and Justin Treece singled up the middle to score Marchal.
The Demons scored first in the second inning on a RBI single from Regan Kaufman that scored Matt Farmer. Farmer reached on an error by shortstop Kraig Kelley.
They added another run in the third inning when Will Watson doubled down the left field line and scored on a single to right field from Cort Brinson one batter later.
The final two runs for the Demons came in the fifth and ninth innings.
Edwin Gomez reached on a fielder's choice in the fifth, advanced to second a walk to Cornejo, got to third on a grounder to the pitcher from Watson, and scored on wild pitch.
"I'm proud of our guys. We got into the win column in league play (on Friday night), and you have to look at it as positive," said Burroughs. "We can't forget we were playing a very good baseball team. Looking back, we had our chances to sweep those guys.
"That has been the story of our season. LSU, Oklahoma, and several other teams we have faced went to one run games. If we could ever get over the hump, we could get things going," said the first-year head coach. "But, that does tell me our guys are competing and that's the first thing you have to do to change the culture of a program."
Bryce Biggerstaff (3-1) took the win on 5.2 innings pitched, and two runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Clint Green (1) got the save on one-third of an inning pitched with the strikeout to Purdy that ended the rally inning.
The Demons went through six pitchers that included Joey Parrack, Logan Shaftner, Steven Spann, Cameron Brewer, and A.J. Funk. Every pitcher other than Funk allowed at least one run to score.
The Demons will stay at home to take on Louisiana-Lafaytte on Wednesday at 6:30 before heading to Corpus Christi, Texas to open a three-game set the Islanders of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday.