Freshman Perry spearheads offense in win to complete sweep

NSU 42 Alexis Perry

Northwestern State freshman Alexis Perry spearheaded a steam-rolling offensive attack Sunday as the Lady Demons completed the sweep of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in an 8-0, five-inning win.

Perry produced a career-high four hits, including NSU’s first and last RBIs to secure the run-rule victory.

After NSU (22-19, 12-6 Southland Conference) stranded four runners in the first two innings, Perry’s RBI double in the third inning lifted the lid off the Lady Demon offense as it scored eight runs in the final three innings.

Facing a full count with a chance to end the game in five innings, Perry (4-for-4, two runs scored) delivered an RBI single to drive in her second run of the contest.

“I was really seeing the ball deeper into the plate, and I’ve been practicing getting deeper into counts, not getting super anxious on the first pitch,” said Perry, who has 10 hits in her last five games. “I saw more pitches, and that’s helped.

“We knew earlier in the week that weather was coming (Saturday’s game postponed), but we were focused on the sweep this weekend. After (getting swept) at Nicholls, we had a lot of momentum because we wanted to show that that wasn’t us.”

With the sweep, NSU has won its last four games and kept pace in the conference standings, moving into a three-way tie for fourth with Stephen F. Austin (12-6 SLC) and Southeastern (12-6 SLC). Nicholls (15-3 SLC) is on a nine-game conference winning streak with Sam Houston State (14-4 SLC) and McNeese (14-4 SLC) tied for second.

NSU travels to Lamar (11-7 SLC) and SFA in the next two weekends before closing the regular season at home against Central Arkansas (7-11 SLC), who is fighting to keep its eighth-place spot.

On Sunday, Perry was part of an impressive middle of the lineup that put the pressure on the Islanders after TAMU-CC avoided early trouble.

Hitters in the No. 3-7 hole recorded 11 of NSU’s 12 hits, including Emma Hawthorne tying a career-high three hits on a 3-for-3 day.

After Perry’s opening double to give NSU a 1-0 lead in the third inning, Hawthorne doubled in two more for the 3-0 edge. The Islanders committed two of their three errors in the frame, leading to two unearned runs in the inning.

Hawthorne supplied the final RBI of a four-run fourth inning that put NSU firmly in control, 7-0.

“Our game plan was to wait for your pitch until two strikes, and I was able to get on a couple of inside pitches,” said Hawthorne, who supplied a pair of doubles (career high) as NSU had five extra-base hits. “I’m seeing the ball in deep lately, and I’ve got great coaches and teammates to help support me.

“It’s a long season, and you have to be focused every day. But we’re supporting each other and getting through it.”

NSU scored all four runs of the fourth inning with two outs, started by Kaitlyn St. Clair’s solo home run.

“I think the wind helped my home run,” St. Clair laughed. “I couldn’t run very far today, so I’m glad that it got out.

“It’s important to get the sweep, and it’s hard to do that in this conference because we beat up on each other so much. It’s so important to get every win we can.”

Perry singled before E.C. Delafield lifted her fourth home run out of the park for a 6-0 edge. Riley Cantrell (2-for-3) singled ahead of Hawthorne’s RBI double for the 7-0 advantage.

Delafield (1-for-2, two RBIs) helped herself in the circle as she picked up the relief win. Delafield homered in each of her pitching wins and finished the series with four RBIs.

NSU starter Bronte Rhoden tossed two scoreless inning, but the Islanders had three hits and a walk as they stranded four runners, including leaving the bases loaded in the first inning.

Delafield (6-2) skirted four hits and a walk in three scoreless innings as the Islanders stranded nine runners total.

The Stonewall native has five of her six wins in SLC play and was part of her second combined shutout of the season. NSU has six shutout wins.

For the Islanders, starter Kandace Johnson (6-11) received her second loss of the series after she allowed seven runs (five earned) in 3 2-3 innings.

Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services