Northwestern State opens loaded home schedule Tuesday

A typical February softball schedule usually includes long trips to tournaments in some of the sport’s most palatial venues.

But Northwestern State (2-6) is taking a break from the road this week with seven games inside the friendly confines of Lady Demon Diamond to starts its home schedule.

The home stand starts Tuesday with a doubleheader against Fairleigh Dickinson followed by a jam-packed weekend of softball at the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission’s Lady Demon Classic from Friday-Sunday.

Tuesday’s doubleheader is scheduled for 5 p.m. with live video and live stats available at nsudemons.com.

“I think all of the kids are excited — I know I am,” said Pickett, who has 269 career wins early in his 11th season in Natchitoches. “We have a young team, and it’s always good to play at home in more of a familiar environment.

“Hopefully we can work around the weather this week.”

NSU has one previous meeting with FDU in the programs’ histories as the Lady Demons run-ruled the Knights in 2017 (11-3) in the Chattanooga Frost Classic.

Despite four losses this past weekend at the North Texas Mean Green Classic, Pickett said he saw plenty of positives from a team that started as many as seven freshmen and sophomores.

“Seeing (senior pitcher) Mikayla Brown set the tone (Sunday at North Texas), got through their lineup once and held them to nothing was good to see,” Pickett said of Brown’s first start of the season. “North Texas is a really hot team right now, and we had a couple of mistakes that I would like to shore up, but we had some good at-bats and traded punches with them.

“I’m really proud of the way she came out in her first start of the year and attacked hitters. I know she can build off of what she did Sunday.”

Brown (0-1) took the loss in a 6-0 defeat at UNT, but five of the Mean Green’s six runs came in one inning, all with two outs.

NSU struggled to put pitching and hitting together on a weekend which included two losses to Seton Hall by a combined three runs and a three-run loss to Creighton.

But veteran bats like junior Hayley Barbazon (six runs scored, three doubles), junior Kaitlyn St. Clair (.286 batting average and three RBIs) and sophomore Cayla Jones (team highs of seven hits and a .318 batting average) are starting to warm up.

FDU (0-4) opened its season this past weekend at the Louisiana Tech Invitational dropping four games by a combined score of 27-7. But the Knights were competitive against fellow Southland Conference member Abilene Christian (2-0 loss) and the host Lady Techsters (7-5 loss).

The Knights finished 17-26 and 8-8 in the Northeast Conference a season ago.

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services