Mason Knopp (8-2) earned the win after allowing three runs on eight hits through six innings, and Jared Biddy picked up his 11th save with 2.1 innings of no-hit relief and a pair of punchouts. In the top of the fifth, the Lions exploded for four runs, beginning with back-to-back RBI base-knocks by Nathan Pilutti and Brennan Breaud to put SLU back on top. After a Nick Ray lineout went down as the second out, Trey Harrington roped a two-run double over the head of right-fielder Lenni Kunert to make it 6-2. The Lions drew first blood in the top of the third, which began with a leadoff double to the left-field corner from Bryce Steckler. A Cody Grosse sac bunt moved Steckler 90 feet from home plate, and Preston Faulkner collected his team-high 47th RBI with a bloop single to right to knock Steckler in. One inning later, Northwestern State cut the Lions’ lead to two with a J.P. Lagreco RBI single, forcing SLU skipper Matt Riser to make the call to his all-conference closer, Biddy. Southeastern Louisiana advances to face the loser of game seven between No. 2 Central Arkansas and No. 6 Stephen F. Austin, and Northwestern State is eliminated. Box Score | Tournament HomepageSUGAR LAND, Texas – After four games produced just 13 total runs on day one, attendees of the Southland Conference Baseball Tournament saw an offensive explosion in Thursday’s first game with No. 3 Southeastern Louisiana staying alive with a 6-4 win over No. 7 Northwestern State. The Demons chipped away at their deficit in the home-half of the sixth by way of a sac fly for Austin Stegall, who’s long fly ball got caught in the gusts blowing in to home plate and fell in to the glove of Ray, giving Tyler Smith plenty of time to tag up and advance to home. Northwestern State answered with two runs in the home-half of the third on a RBI double by Sam Taylor and a run-scoring base hit off the bat of Caleb Ricca. Sophomore Cheney Dodge, a .133 hitter to begin the contest, sparked the offense with a one-out single through the left side and scoring on Taylor’s two-bagger. The back-and-forth continued in the ensuing half inning as Southeastern Louisiana loaded the bases on a fielding error by Caleb Ricca and plated the tying run on a textbook squeeze play from Conner Manola.
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