The Northwestern State baseball team will have ample opportunities to showcase the improvements made to Brown-Stroud Field in 2020.
The Demons on Thursday announced their home-heavy 2020 season schedule, a slate that includes 35 home game, including an eight-game homestand to open the season.
“I’m sure (playing at home) helps, but hopefully the circumstances of where we play don’t affect us too much,” said head coach Bobby Barbier, who begins his fourth season in charge of his alma mater. “I’m just happy our fans get to enjoy our new stadium and a chance to meet our fairly new team.”
For the third time in Barbier’s four seasons, the Demons begin the season at home, hosting Wichita State in a three-game series Feb. 14-16. The series with the Shockers opens an eight-game, season-opening homestand, which includes a visit from ULM (Feb. 18) and a four-game series against North Alabama (Feb. 21-23).
That run is the first of four straight weekends at home as Northwestern State plays 14 of its first 16 games at Brown-Stroud Field. In all, Northwestern State will play nine weekend series at home. In addition to welcoming the Shockers to Natchitoches, NSU hosts Eastern Illinois (Feb. 28-March 1), Mercer (May 13, 15) and Houston (May 14) in weekend action.
Mercer is one of three NSU opponents who reached the 2019 NCAA Regionals, joining LSU (April 28 in Baton Rouge) and McNeese (April 17-19 in Lake Charles) on the Demons’ 56-game schedule.
The pairing of Mercer and Houston on the season’s final weekend was necessitated by a shift in the Southland Conference schedule that moved Northwestern State’s open weekend in conference play to the end of the season.
“We are very fortunate to have those guys in Natchitoches this year,” Barbier said. “Scheduling can be difficult sometimes, and it’s nice when it works out to get some programs with great tradition on your home field. We are lucky to have (the final weekend) filled with two quality opponents in a tournament setting to prepare us for postseason play.”
In addition to the April 17-19 matchup at McNeese, the Demons have Southland Conference road trips set for New Orleans (March 13-15), Lamar (March 20-22), Nicholls (April 3-5) and Incarnate Word (May 1-3).
Northwestern State’s 15 home Southland Conference games come against Abilene Christian (March 6-8), Houston Baptist (March 27-29), Southeastern Louisiana (April 9-11), Stephen F. Austin (April 24-26) and SLC regular-season champion Sam Houston State (May 8-10). The Southland Conference Tournament is set for May 20-23.
“Our brand of baseball in the Southland is tremendous,” Barbier said. “You have to come ready to play every day or you will get beat. I am sure this year will be just like years past in our league.”
Northwestern State has home-and-home midweek series with state rivals ULM (Feb. 18 in Natchitoches, April 21 in Monroe), Southern (March 3 in Baton Rouge, April 15 in Natchitoches), Grambling (March 10 in Grambling, April 7 in Natchitoches), and Louisiana Tech (March 17 in Natchitoches, April 14 in Ruston).
The Demons host LSU-Alexandria on March 25 and Mississippi Valley State (March 31-April 1) in their other home mid-week games and will travel to UL Lafayette (Feb. 26) and LSU in road mid-week action.
2020 Northwestern State Baseball Schedule
Date Opponent Location
Feb. 14 Wichita State Natchitoches
Feb. 15 Wichita State Natchitoches
Feb. 16 Wichita State Natchitoches
Feb. 18 ULM Natchitoches
Feb. 21 North Alabama Natchitoches
Feb. 22 North Alabama (DH) Natchitoches
Feb. 23 North Alabama Natchitoches
Feb. 26 UL Lafayette Lafayette
Feb. 28 Eastern Illinois Natchitoches
Feb. 29 Eastern Illinois Natchitoches
March 1 Eastern Illinois Natchitoches
March 3 Southern Baton Rouge
March 6 Abilene Christian* Natchitoches
March 7 Abilene Christian* Natchitoches
March 8 Abilene Christian* Natchitoches
March 10 Grambling Grambling
March 13 New Orleans* New Orleans
March 14 New Orleans* New Orleans
March 15 New Orleans* New Orleans
March 17 Louisiana Tech Natchitoches
March 20 Lamar* Beaumont, Texas
March 21 Lamar* Beaumont, Texas
March 22 Lamar* Beaumont, Texas
March 25 LSU-Alexandria Natchitoches
March 27 Houston Baptist* Natchitoches
March 28 Houston Baptist* Natchitoches
March 29 Houston Baptist* Natchitoches
March 31 Mississippi Valley State Natchitoches
April 1 Mississippi Valley State Natchitoches
April 3 Nicholls* Thibodaux
April 4 Nicholls* Thibodaux
April 5 Nicholls* Thibodaux
April 7 Grambling Natchitoches
April 9 Southeastern Louisiana* Natchitoches
April 10 Southeastern Louisiana* Natchitoches
April 11 Southeastern Louisiana* Natchitoches
April 14 Louisiana Tech Ruston
April 15 Southern Natchitoches
April 17 McNeese* Lake Charles
April 18 McNeese* Lake Charles
April 19 McNeese* Lake Charles
April 21 ULM Monroe
April 24 Stephen F. Austin* Natchitoches
April 25 Stephen F. Austin* Natchitoches
April 26 Stephen F. Austin* Natchitoches
April 28 LSU Baton Rouge
May 1 Incarnate Word* San Antonio
May 2 Incarnate Word* San Antonio
May 3 Incarnate Word* San Antonio
May 8 Sam Houston State* Natchitoches
May 9 Sam Houston State* Natchitoches
May 10 Sam Houston State* Natchitoches
May 13 Mercer Natchitoches
May 14 Houston Natchitoches
May 15 Mercer Natchitoches
May 20-23 Southland Conference Tournament TBA
*-Denotes Southland Conference game
Photo: The Northwestern State baseball team will play 35 home games in the 2020 season. Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services