Northeastern A&M's Golden Norsemen assumed sole possession of first place in the Bi-State Athletic Conference after splitting a double-header with Connors State College Sunday at Homa Thomas Field,
Coach Roger Ward's Golden Norse enter the final week of the regular season with an 11-7 record in the Bi-State and 27-16 on the year. The split gives coach Perry Keith's Cowboys a 12-8 conference mark and a 34-13 overall mark.
The Norsemen travel to Lee's Summit, Mo., Friday for a 1 p.m. non-conference double-header with Maplewoods Community College.
NEO concludes the home portion of the schedule next Saturday by hosting Arkansas-Fort Smith in a 1 p.m. Bi-State twinbill.
With the score tied 5-5 through seven innings of the first game, Connors State received a leadoff home run by Brandon Smith to capture a 6-5 victory over the Golden Norse.
NEO grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Leadoff hitter Josh Botts was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Wesley Starkes doubled to right-center. Botts scored on fielder's choice by Carl Moniz. Starkes scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Jacob Taylor.
Mike Sodders doubled to left-center to start the bottom of the second inning for NEO.
After a ground out by Taylor Clark, Sodders scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Marcos Flores to create a 3-0 Norse lead.
The Cowboys tied the score at 3-3 in the top of the third inning off NEO starter Dan Reid.
With two outs, Tyler Tuthill singled to left. Zane Williams followed with a two-run home run to left on a 1-2 count. Kyle DeGrace followed with a homer over the right field fence.
Connors grabbed a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth inning on a one-out home run to left-center by Justin Worby.
A solo home run by Ryan Kilmer to start the top of the sixth inning gave the Cowboys a 5-3 cushion.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Flores drew a walk. Botts lined an 0-1 pitch over the right-center field fence for his 11th home run to tie the game at 5-5 and force extra innings.
Botts collected two of the eight Golden Norse hits with a double and homer. Sodders and Starkes contributed doubles.
Jeff Neptune suffered the loss after relieving Reid in the sixth inning.
Erupting for three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Golden Norse gained a 7-4 win in the second game.
Courtney Blevins singled to left to start the sixth for NEO.
Botts bunted for a base hit. Matt Cassell singled up the middle scoring Blevins. Botts also scored on a fielding error by Williams in center, with Cassell advancing to second.
Jeff Hutton singled to left as Cassell scored.
Connors built a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a one-out home run to center by Williams.
A single by Williams started a two-run third inning for the Cowboys. After DeGrace singled, Michael Zumehly doubled to left-center, scoring both Williams and DeGrace.
Botts singled to right-center and Cassell walked with one out in the bottom of the third inning. After Moniz walked, Taylor hit into a fielder's choice as Botts scored for a 3-1 deficit.
A single by Blevins and walks by Cassell and Moniz ignited a three-run fifth inning for the Norsemen.
Taylor singled down the left field line, scoring both Blevins and Cassell. Hutton reached on an error by Kilmer in left as Moniz scored to give NEO a 4-3 lead.
Worby doubled to right and scored on a single to left-center by Tuthill to produce a 4-4 tie in the top of the sixth inning.
Botts and Blevins both had two of the eight Golden Norse hits.
Josh White improved his record to 4-2 by allowing three runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings of work. Jared Jordan earned a save by allowing one run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings.