A year ago when Mississippi Valley State visited Brown-Stroud Field, the Delta Devils woke up Northwestern State’s offense.
As the Demons prepare to host the Delta Devils in a two-game series for the fifth straight season, Northwestern State hopes its bats already have heard a wake-up call.
When the teams meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday night in the first game of the series at Brown-Stroud Field, they do so with Northwestern State hoping to build on a thrilling 7-5 Sunday win at Houston Baptist in which the Demons scored four two-out runs in the ninth inning to grab the victory.
The series concludes Wednesday with a noon matchup.
“I’ve said this before, I believe in those guys,” third-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We believe that we’re better than what we’ve shown. For us, it’s about having confidence, moving forward, in your at-bats, on the mound, making plays defensively, which we’ve been good at all year. It’s about continuing that.”
The Demons (14-11) stunned Houston Baptist by scoring four ninth-inning runs after the Huskies retired the first two batters of the inning.
Peyton Davis’ RBI double and J.P. Lagreco’s pinch-hit RBI single tied things before an error and an RBI double from Jeffrey Elkins gave the Demons a stirring victory.
“It’s about us taking those at-bats in the ninth inning against a good arm – I thought (J.T. Newton) was really good – and having that focus for nine innings straight,” Barbier said. “I think we can get that.”
The Demons (14-11) got plenty of offense when Mississippi Valley State (6-12) last visited Brown-Stroud Field.
Northwestern State notched back-to-back shutout wins, outscoring the Delta Devils by a combined 55-0. Those two games seemed to awaken the Demons’ offense for a stretch run that culminated in the school’s first Southland Conference Baseball Tournament championship.
This time, the Demons hope to have their bats already primed for Mississippi Valley State’s visit.
Davis and Lagreco provided two of the biggest hits in Sunday’s comeback. Davis finished 2-for-4, giving him his first multi-hit game since March 15 against New Orleans.
In addition to Lagreco’s pinch single, Lenni Kunert added a pair of pinch hits across the weekend.
“Our game’s really finicky,” Barbier said. “One ball that has eyes and finds a hole can get a guy going and build some confidence, We have to be able to overcome when things aren’t going well. Hopefully, this Sunday will do that for us.”
The Demons will start left-hander Tyler Pigott (3-1, 4.38) in the opener and right-hander Jerry Maddox (1-2, 8.67) in the two-game set.
Those two will be joined by several other pitchers as Pigott was among several relievers who did not see action in the weekend series against Houston Baptist.
“We were throwing bullpens after the game Sunday,” Barbier said. “Some guys who didn’t hit the mound are really good arms. Sometimes, the way a weekend fits, it means guys don’t get to pitch.
“Those guys who haven’t had a chance will get into these double mid-week games. We need them moving forward. We don’t like recycling guys a whole bunch. We like guys who are fresh. These double midweeks are where they will help us in the future. We’re going to need those guys now and in the tournament.”
Tuesday’s game is $2 Tuesday. All general admission (non-chairback) tickets will be priced at $2 and there will be concessions specials throughout the game.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services