Will Watson's clutch run-scoring single to the right side in the seventh inning gave the Northwestern State baseball team the go-ahead run in a 4-3 win over Oral Roberts in the final game of the 2013 season.
Matt Baca led off the inning for the Demons (16-40, 5-22 Southland Conference) with a full-count walk and was replaced by Jake Clouatre. Edwin Gomez hit a dribbler to the pitcher who attempted to get Clouatre at second base, but threw the ball into center field which allowed the runner to get to third.
Watson was at the plate with a 2-1 count and no outs when he lined a single between the first and second basemen which allowed him to reach first and score the run to take a 4-3 lead over Oral Roberts (23-30, 16-11 SLC)
"Will was up earlier in the game with a chance to win it in a bunting situation, and I told him he wasn't going to bunt in his last game at Brown-Stroud Field," said Lane Burroughs who wrapped up his final year as Demon head coach. "It was fitting because he's battled injuries all year and hasn't been 100 percent the entire season, and for him to get the game-winning hit was unbelievable."
Watson was two-of-four in his final game as Demon. He finished his career with 207 hits which ranks sixth all-time in the NSU record books. He also grabbed the 10th spot in games played with 188 games played.
Brandon Healy opened up the game in the three-run third inning for the Golden Eagles with a bunt-single to first base that scored Nate Goro. Goro reached on a double to left field, and took third base after a bunt-single to the pitcher from Kevin Cho.
Jose Trevio hit a single to left fielder Baca who tried to get Cho at the plate, but was late and Todd Wallace tried to catch Healy taking third, but threw the ball into left field to score another.
NSU answered with three of its own in the bottom half of the third. Baca led off the inning with a single to center field, and advanced to second when pinch-hitter Gomez reached on an error by pitcher Tim Zufall.
Two batters later, Matt Burns doubled down the right field line that scored both, and Burns scored after Todd Wallace singled up the middle.
"Burns has struggled with men in scoring position all season long, and for him to get the double down the line to drive in those two runs as a senior was fitting too," said Burroughs.
Cody Butler started for the Demons and worked five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits, four walks, and six strikeouts.
Cameron Brewer (1-2) took the win on two innings pitched with two walks and a strikeout. A.J. Funk recorded his first career save in his final game at NSU on two perfect innings with a strikeout.
"Funk was another senior who stepped up with a two inning save," said Burroughs. "Our seniors stepped up, and some of them were in situations that they didn't get through, but we stuck with them. I'm happy for those guys.
"I know it's been a long year for all of us, but we're all in this together and I'm happy we can end it with a win," he said.
Zufall got the start for ORU and lasted only three innings with three runs (two earned) allowed on four hits and two strikeouts. Phillip Wilson came on in relief with three innings pitched and two hits.
Alec Smith (1-4) gets the loss after one-third of the seventh inning that allowed Clouatre to score, unearned.
Wallace was two-of-four with an RBI in his final game. Burns, Brinson, and Baca all contributed a hit.
"If you've got a good club, Cort Brinson could be right there for freshman of the year and Robert Baker for pitcher of the year," said Burroughs. "Those guys aren't the only ones coming back next year and we've had a great signing class so we're looking forward to it.
"As a competitor, you don't like to lose, but one thing I'll say about this club is very few times did they give in," he said. "They battled and fought and did everything we asked. We'll just keep getting better."
The Demons missed a berth into the Southland Conference Tournament for the third straight year.