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LAKE CHARLES, La. – No. 8 UIW extended its stay in Lake Charles with a 9-8 upset of No. 4 Nicholls to set up a rematch with No. 1 McNeese at 6 p.m. CT. The Cardinals plated five in the seventh inning and held off a late Colonel comeback to stave off elimination.

The big inning began with three-straight base-hits, including an RBI base knock for Ridge Rogers. Three batters later, Jimmy DeLeon cleared the bases with a double, and he came around to score on another double off the bat of Hernan Yanez that made it 9-5.

Spencer Hayward (2-7) was the winning pitcher of record after striking out four Colonels over the final three innings. David Vial Jr. (1-1) was pinned with three runs after starting the seventh inning and suffered the loss.

It was quiet for both lineups in the early going until the Cardinals (21-30) loaded the bases on a hit by pitch and back-to-back walks for Wilson Earhardt, who emptied the bags with a grand slam.

The Colonels (26-25) got one back after Garrett Felix led off the fifth with a solo home run to the opposite field, giving the sophomore designated hitter a long ball in each of the team’s four games against UIW this season.

An inning later, the Colonels rallied for four runs with two outs, including a two-run double from Felix that tied it up and chased UIW starter Carson Rollins from the game. The following at bat saw Kyle Boudreaux knock in Felix for the 5-4 lead.

Nicholls threatened again in the seventh, putting two runners in scoring position on back-to-back hits to lead off the inning, but UIW’s Steve Hayward entered out of the pen and struck out the side to escape the jam.

The Cardinals rode that momentum into the five-spot in the home half of the seventh that featured the RBI doubles from DeLeon and Yanez. 

The eighth inning brought a bit of déjà vu as Felix responded to a big inning by UIW with a leadoff home run to once again trim the deficit to three. Dane Simon and Edgar Alvarez each added an RBI single to make it a one-run affair.

{Courtesy: release from the Southland Conference}