NATCHITOCHES – Part of Northwestern State’s two-game baseball series with ULM is rather unique.
Another part of it is something that likely does not rate highly with pitching coaches across the country.
The Demons (12-11) and Warhawks (10-13) open a two-game, home-and-home series at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Brown-Stroud Field. The return game is set for Wednesday at the same time at Warhawk Field in Monroe.
“You’re getting to the point in the year where you’re running out of opportunities to play two in the middle of the week,” fourth-year head coach Lane Burroughs said. “I know (pitching) coach (Bobby) Barbier would rather us not play two in the middle of the week. All pitching coaches across the country (wouldn’t). We need some guys to pitch. You don’t anticipate a complete game in the middle of the week like (Jeffrey) Stovall gave us last week.”
Stovall (2-2) is scheduled to start the first game against the Warhawks. Against Grambling on March 24, Stovall spun his second career complete game in a 2-1 Northwestern State win.
With two midweek games scheduled, the Demons likely have plenty of innings to go around, although Burroughs and his staff were appreciative of Stovall’s outing.
“His secondary pitches haven’t been what he wants them to be or what we want them to be,” Burroughs said. “He had his breaking ball against Grambling. It was really good. He’s not walking a lot of people, but he’s gotten behind a lot in the count a lot this year, which is something he hasn’t done. Hat’s off to him for grinding through it. He’s figuring it out.”
While Stovall turned in his best outing of the season, the Demons offense battled through a weekend that saw them produce their highest run total of the season (10 vs. Stephen F. Austin on Thursday) but score a total of seven runs in the other three games.
NSU has won three of the first four games of its season-long five-game homestand, claiming one- and two-run wins sandwiched around its 10-3 rout of SFA on Thursday.
“This team’s capable of putting up a lot of runs,” Burroughs said. “I know the average fan will look at our numbers and won’t read that into it. We have a mantra here, ‘Hit the ball hard and you’ll win.’
“Daniel Garner doesn’t have anything to show for it, but he crushed two balls (Saturday) as hard as any we’ve hit all year, and they land in the center fielder’s glove. He can’t control that. This team’s capable of putting up big numbers. We keep talking about priming the pump, and when the water comes out, we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
ULM will start left-hander Ethan Daily (2-2, 7.47) in Tuesday’s series opener.
Tuesday: ULM LHP Ethan Daily (2-2, 7.47) at Northwestern State RHP Jeffrey Stovall (2-2, 5.01)
Wednesday: Northwestern State TBA at ULM RHP Cole Hendrix (0-0, 2.45)