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Chris WilliamsALVA, Okla. – After four hours and five minutes, a winner was finally decided in game one of the Northwestern/Southern Nazarene series. Southern Nazarene scored two runs in the top of the 12th inning for the eventual 10-9 win.


After Southern Nazarene jumped out to a 7-1 lead through five and a half innings, Northwestern erupted for five runs in the fifth inning. The Rangers did so as Dan Coury reached on a bases loaded walk, forcing in a run and Chris Williams provided the big blast with a grand slam, his 16th home run of the season.


With the Rangers trailing 7-6 through five complete innings, Northwestern tied the game in the sixth as Coury singled through the left side to plate Tom Huddleston.


SNU went up a run, scoring in the eighth inning, but the Rangers came back to tie the game for the second time, as Vincent Valdez hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Anthony Cros.


Neither team could score in the 9th, 10th or 11th innings. Northwestern left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth with one out. SNU reliever Josh Cephas sat the Rangers down in order in the 10th and 11th.


Southern Nazarene led the 12th inning off with two runs and the Rangers were force to play catch up. Northwestern got a run, with Cros singling through the left side to score Huddleston, who singled up the middle and advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt from Cephas. Dan Coury reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a throwing error, but the Rangers couldn’t get him to score with one out remaining.


Both teams had plenty of opportunities to end the game sooner, with Northwestern leaving 13 runners left on base and Southern Nazarene leaving eight. SNU out-hit the Rangers by one, 15 to 14.


Chase Phelps got the start on the mound and made an early exit, throwing 1.1 innings. Cameron Taylor relieved for the next five and two thirds innings and pitched well. He struck out eight batters and allowed two runs and five hits. Through the third and fourth innings, Taylor recorded strikeouts for five of the six outs. Matt Stratton pitched the eighth inning, before Andrew Ford (1-5) threw the final four innings and received the loss.


Northwestern (26-23, 10-15) will finish the three-game series against Southern Nazarene (35-10, 17-8) with game two and three in Bethany on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.