By Jason PughIt won’t be “Throwback Thursday,” but part of the Northwestern State baseball team’s two-game midweek series with Mississippi Valley State may qualify for “Way Back Wednesday.”
The Demons (20-18) and Delta Devils (6-30) begin their series at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Brown-Stroud Field and conclude it with a noon matchup Wednesday.
During the Wednesday game, Northwestern State will debut its “Normal” jerseys, a tribute to the days of yore when the school was known as Louisiana State Normal College.
“We’re going back old school,” fourth-year head coach Lane Burroughs said. “We’re going to wear the ‘Normal’ jerseys. We’ll wear those on Wednesday, and we’ll auction those off online. We’re excited about that. Our guys are excited about wearing something different, kind of a throwback day.
“We’ll do nothing but try to be Normal all day.”
Tuesday’s game is Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day with two tickets and concession vouchers available for all NSU faculty and staff members. Wednesday’s matchup, in addition to being a celebration of Louisiana Normal, is Field Trip Day with free admission offered to all students.
This marks the second straight season the Demons have hosted the Delta Devils in a two-game midweek set. The series also opens a five-game homestand for Northwestern State, which has not played a home game since defeating Southland Conference-leading Southeastern Louisiana, 3-2, on April 10.
NSU needs only to look at last year’s meetings between the teams to make sure it does not underestimate a Valley squad that has won just six games this season.
After taking the opening game of the series 13-0, the Demons grinded out a 4-1 win in the series finale against a team that came into the series well under .500.
“They’re not having a great year, but I know one thing, they came in here last year in kind of the same situation, and they had a young man playing shortstop who got drafted and was one of the best players I saw all year,” Burroughs said.
“They’ll be excited about coming in here and playing us. They’ll bring everything they have, and our guys have to be on point. Midweek games are very tricky. Sometimes you’ve got to pump your guys up and ready to play, especially after a mentally draining, stressful weekend like we just had.”
That weekend, which ended with a 7-5, 10-inning victory at Central Arkansas that clinched a Southland Conference series win.
Northwestern State coughed up a two-run, ninth-inning lead before scoring a pair of runs in the 10th inning to win the series.
“If that doesn’t get us going, there isn’t much that will,” Burroughs said.
The Demons will send junior right-hander Tim Winders (1-2, 6.63) to the mound for Tuesday’s series opener and have yet to name a starter for Wednesday’s game. Mississippi Valley State has not named a starter for either game.