Cowboys lose longest game in SLC Tournament history in 14th inning

Published 12:47 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

On the fourth pitch after the clock struck midnight at Joe Miller Ballpark, the Cowboys’ hopes turned into a pumpkin.

Nicholls’ Edgar Alvarez slapped a ground ball past the diving Brad Burckel and into center field to score Jaden Collar from second with the winning run one minute into Wednesday morning.

The hit gave Nicholls a 3-2 win in 14 innings over McNeese State and ended the longest game in Southland Conference Tournament history.

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The victory sends the top-seeded Colonels (32-22) into the winners’ bracket of the double-elimination tourney. They will play Lamar at 2:30 p.m.

McNeese (34-23) will have a quick turnaround. The Cowboys will be back to play UIW in an elimination game at 11 a.m.

The two teams combine to leave 23 runners on base. McNeese was 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position while Nicholls finished 1-for-12.

Derrick Cherry took the loss, falling to 3-3 on the season. Gavin Gary picked up the win (1-1).

The Cowboys wasted a career-high 10-strikeout performance by Christian Vega, who allowed just three hits in six innings of relief work.

With their season on the line, the Pokes will turn to Bryson Hudgens for just his fifth start of the season after Tommy John surgery last spring.

The Colonels took the lead off McNeese starter Ty Abraham in the first. After loading the bases with the first three hitters, they scored on a double play ball, but that was all they got.

McNeese tied it in the fourth on Braley Hollins’ run-scoring triple to right. Cooper Hext scored on the play from first.

Hext was the only player on either team with three hits on the game, which started after a 2:29 rain delay.

The Pokes took the lead in the top of the fifth thanks to a Burckel sacrifice fly to right that scored Andrew Gonzales.

Nicholls tied it on with a sac fly of its own from Wes Toups.

Earlier in the day, Bo Willis went 3-for-4 with a home run and drove in both Northwestern State runs as the fifth-seeded Demons topped No. 2 Incarnate Word 2-1.

Cal Carver (7-3) earned the win, allowing the one first inning run on seven hits and two walks with no strikeouts in 6.2 innings. Chase Prestwich earned his second save of the season.

Kayden Cassidy was tagged with the hard luck loss, allowing two runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 8.0 innings to fall to 3-3.

In yesterday’s second game, New Orleans scored four times in the second on back-to-back homers by Jorge Tejeda and Issac Williams.

Tejeda’s shot was a three-run blast as No. 4 UNO knocked off No. 3 Lamar, 4-1.