Dugas lifts NSU past Lamar in Southland tournament - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Dugas lifts NSU past Lamar in Southland tournament

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CONWAY, AR -

Caleb Dugas crushed a two-run home run to left field in the top of ninth inning to that gave the Northwestern State baseball team the advantage in its first Southland Conference Tournament win since 2006 with a 10-8 victory over Lamar in the first elimination game Thursday morning at Bear Stadium.

NSU (32-25) will play Sam Houston, the top seed in the tournament, on Friday morning at 9 o'clock.  The two teams met at Sam Houston during the regular season for a three-game set, and the Demons took two games and won the series. With a win, the Demons would play again on Saturday at 4 o'clock against Southeastern Louisiana. 

Lamar (31-25) was eliminated and played the final game of its 2014 season.

"It was one of those games.  It was an elimination game," said Demon head coach Lane Burroughs. "Both teams battled like crazy.  C.J. Webster had some big hits for us, and Dugas had the big blow in the game.

"(Lamar) has a good club, and their coaches do a great job," said the second-year skipper. "We live to see another day."

The Cardinals battled back from a 8-6 deficit at the start of the their frame in the eighth inning and tied it on a two-run double down the left field line from the league's hitter of the year Sam Bumpers to send it to the ninth tied 8-8.

NSU's top of the order was due to start the ninth, and Edwin Gomez led off the inning with a single through the left side.  Bret Underwood advanced him to second on a bang-bang play (called out) at first base on a sacrifice bunt.

Dugas stepped to the plate with Gomez on second and one out, and blasted the first pitch he saw in the at-bat.

"I was just looking for something up in the zone. On the first pitch I got it, and luckily I turned on it and drove it over the fence," said Dugas.

C.J. Webster was the pacesetter to start the game for Northwestern State with four runs driven in after two hits in his first three at-bats.  After LU jumped 2-0 after the first inning and Cort Brinson scored NSU's first in the second, Webster put the Demons on top 3-2 with a two-run home run that barely missed the scoreboard in left field.

His dinger scored Nick Heath, who reached on a slow chopper to second base and took second when the second baseman made an errant throw on the play.

The Demons pushed the score to 4-2 in the third inning when Brinson singled to right field and knocked in Underwood from second base.   The Cardinals tied it in the bottom of the third frame on runs by Brandon Provost and Jacoby Middleton.

Webster broke the 4-4 tie in the sixth inning on a single to right center that scored Brinson and Daughdrill from third and second base, respectively.  Brinson led off the inning when he was hit by a pitch and Daughdrill reached on a single through the left side.  Both runners moved up a bag when Nathan Lyons put down a sacrifice bunt.

Webster scored when Joel Atkinson reached on an error.

Lamar added two more in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the damage was limited when Atkinson came up with a huge play to end the inning. 

With runners on second and third and one out to start the Lamar sixth, Mason Salazar doubled down the left field line and cleared the bases.  After a wild pitch, ground out and hit by pitch, the Cardinals had runners on first and third with two outs and Bumpers at the plate. 

Bumpers hit a ground ball deep to the hole at shortstop, and Atkinson dove, corralled the ball and made a perfect throw to first base that beat the speedy Bumpers to save the 7-6 advantage.

Northwestern State made it 8-6 when Gomez scored from first base after Lamar's pitcher threw away a sacrifice bunt by Underwood, with the ball skipping out to the right field bullpen.

Josh Oller started the game on the mound for NSU, and lasted 2.1 innings with four runs allowed on four hits and two walks.  Austin Tanner took over in the third inning and pitched three full innings with two runs allowed on four hits.  Cameron Brewer threw two-thirds of an inning, inheriting two runners who scored on a base hit he allowed.

Evan Tidwell worked 1.1 innings with two runs allowed on four this, and Brandon Smith (3-2) took the win with 1.2 innings pitched.  He allowed only one hit and faced one batter over the minimum.

"We pieced it together with our bullpen. I am proud of those guys," said Burroughs. "Our bullpen did a good job. They did what they had to do."

Lamar went through five pitchers in the game, starting with David Carver. He lasted four innings with four runs allowed on six hits. The loss went to Andrew Beasley (1-1), who pitched one inning and gave up the two-run blast.

Five Demons had multi-hit games, including Daughdrill and Heath who each had three hits.  Webster, Brinson and Gomez had two hits apiece.  Northwestern State was outhit 14-13 in the game.

Sam Bumpers led the Cardinals at the plate with three hits in five trips.  Tyler West, Kyle Makum, Jacoby Middleton and Jude Vidrine all had two.

Patrick Netherton will have Thursday's call on 100.7-KZBL in Natchitoches, and it will be live streamed at NSUDemons.com.  The Southland Conference offers a video feed on the SLC Digital Channel at Southland.org.  

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