Demons suffer sweep at UIW

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – For a third straight day, the Northwestern State baseball team could not find the big hits it needed on the road.

After taking an early lead for the first time in their three-game Southland Conference series at Incarnate Word, the Demons could not blow the game open early Sunday afternoon.

The homestanding Cardinals were able to do so, scoring in three straight innings to erase a pair of Demon leads in an 11-4 victory at Sullivan Field.

Northwestern State (15-16, 5-4) suffered its first sweep in conference play since 2017 after UIW (15-13, 5-4) notched double-figure hits for the third straight game.

The Demons struck first for the first time in the series on Larson Fontenot’s solo home run with one out in the third inning, breaking a streak of seven straight retired by UIW starter Kayden Cassidy. Cam Sibley followed with a double, and the Demons loaded the bases on back-to-back, two-out walks drawn by Jeffrey Elkins and Daunte Stuart.

Cassidy escaped the jam with a strikeout to keep it a one-run game.

Following a two-out Roberto Gonzalez RBI single off Drayton Brown (3-3) in the bottom of the third, the Demons regained the lead on Gabe Colaianni’s sacrifice fly and a run-scoring balk before again loading the bases with two outs.

Chandler David (2-0) entered and picked up a strikeout as the Demons left the bases loaded for a second straight inning.

The inability to build upon the lead reared its head as UIW answered with three in its half of the third, the last on Jimmy DeLeon’s first home run of the season, a solo shot to left field that put the Cardinals ahead to stay.

UIW built upon the lead with a four-run fifth and answered Jeffrey Elkins’ sixth home run of the season – a solo blast in the seventh – with a run in the seventh and two more in the eighth to complete the sweep.

Ridge Rogers, who homered in the eighth, led UIW with a 3-for-5, three-RBI performance.

The Demons continue their season-long, eight-game road trip at Louisiana Tech on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at J.C. Love Field in Ruston.

Incarnate Word 11, Northwestern State 4
NSU       001 200 100 – 4 6 0
UIW       001 340 12x – 11 12 2

W – Chandler David (2-0). L – Drayton Brown (3-3). 2B – NSU, Cam Sibley. UIW, Wilson Ehrhardt. 3B – UIW, Braxton Gerek, Ridge Rogers. HR – NSU, Jeffrey Elkins (6), Larson Fontenot (3). UIW, Ridge Rogers (2), Jimmy DeLeon (1). Highlights: UIW, Hernan Yanes 2-3; Rogers 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBIs; Nixon Brannan 2-4, 3 RBIs.

Records: Northwestern State 15-16, 5-4; Incarnate Word 15-13, 5-4.

PHOTO:  Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services