CONWAY, Ark. — Andrew Godbold knocked in four runs on two hits to help lead Southeastern Louisiana to a 5-3 victory over Northwestern State in the opening game of the Southland Conference baseball tournament on Wednesday at Bear Stadium.
Godbold, the Southland Conference’s Newcomer of the Year, drove in the game’s first run with a single to up the middle that scored center fielder Jacob Seward in the top of the first inning.
The Lions got three more runs in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie thanks to bases-loaded double by Goldbod that scored Jacob Williams, Seward and Jameson Fisher. The Lions added an insurance run in the ninth on Kennon Menard single, scoring Sam Roberson.
“I was just doing my job,” Godbold said. “I am in the spot I am in to come through for the team, and my teammates believe in me, and luckily I got it done today. In a tournament setting, there is no tomorrow. This is what I have been waiting for.”
Godbold entered the game with 54 RBIs.
“(Godbold) is the conference RBI leader and had four of them today,” Lions coach Matt Riser said. “He had some big at-bats for us and did a fantastic job of continuing to drive guys in and grind some at bats out.”
Southeastern starter Andro Cutura, a first-team all-conference selection, gave up two runs on six hits while striking out five to run his record to improve to 10-2. Freshman of the Year Adam Oller (6-2) took the loss after giving up four runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked four.
“It was huge performance from Andro Cutura,” Riser said. “He went out and does exactly what a Friday night guy does. He dominated the zone and kept competing. He got better as the game went on. Hats off to him. He is a true competitor. Second to none.”
Godbold and Menard both led the Lions with two hits. Northwestern was led by Heath (3-for-4).
The Lions advance to meet No. 1 seed Sam Houston State, a 10-4 winner over No. 8 seed Lamar, at 4 p.m. Thursday. Northwestern State faces Lamar at 9 a.m. Thursday.
McNEESE STATE 4, NICHOLLS STATE 2: In Conway, Ark., the seventh-seeded Cowboys got six scoreless innings from starter Kaleb Fontenot to down the second-seeded Colonels.
The victory snapped a five-game tournament-losing streak for the Cowboys (29-26).
McNeese will advance to play the winner of the Central Arkansas and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi contest at 7 p.m. Thursday as sophomore right-hander Bryce Kingsley will try get the start for McNeese.
Fontenot (6-2) gave up five hits and one walk while striking out six.
Cory Lapeze picked up his third save of the season.
Nicholls (32-25) faces the loser Central Arkansas-Texas-Corpus Christi game at noon Thursday.
“We have one of our best arms going (with sophomore Grant Borne),” Colonels coach Seth Thibodeaux said. “We have to make sure we clean up our small mistakes. We have to make sure we are the aggressor. We have to make sure we go to our strengths, and when we do that, we are successful.”
I have all the confidence in the world with Grant on the mound and our guys playing good defense. We just have to get the timely hit when we have to.”