Demons open busy stretch by hosting LSU-A

NATCHITOCHES – Mother Nature cut a little time off the longest road trip of the season for the Northwestern State baseball team this past week.

The Demons will begin paying her back Tuesday night when they face LSU-Alexandria at 6 p.m. at Brown-Stroud Field, starting a run of 10 games in 13 days, precipitated by an April 12 rainout at Louisiana Tech.

Northwestern State will make up that postponement Wednesday in Ruston with another 6 p.m. first pitch. That schedule change has led to the start of consecutive five-game weeks for the Demons (16-18).

Free streaming audio of both games is available on and through the Northwestern State Athletics mobile app, which can be downloaded free for Apple and Android devices. A free audio stream will be available for Wednesday’s game at Louisiana Tech.

“That’s what our game is made of,” sixth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “It’s being able to go out and get some good work in – we start earlier on game day than most sports – and then go out and compete against somebody. I don’t think there’s anyone in that locker room who is going to complain about being able to play ball. That’s what we get to do for the next two weeks – play a lot of ball.”

Northwestern State snapped a six-game losing streak Saturday in an avalanche of hits, defeating Nicholls 10-7 behind a 17-hit attack – NSU’s most hits in their first 12 Southland Conference games this season.

“They responded,” Barbier said. “Nicholls played great. I know I said the same thing about UIW, but both teams played really well.

“You have to get in the fight with them. When the other team’s playing well against you, you can’t just sit back and let them continue to play well. You’ve got to do things to put pressure on them and get in the fight with them. Saturday, we put together good at-bats. It was tough early, like it has been, but we kept putting together good at-bats.”

The visiting Generals (25-11), who are playing the game as an exhibition, have won five straight games after sweeping Red River Athletic Conference foe Houston-Victoria this past weekend.

Louisiana Tech (25-11) took its series at Marshall this past weekend, sweeping a Saturday doubleheader to give former Demon head coach Lane Burroughs his 300th career victory. The first 113 of Burroughs’ wins came as the Demon skipper.

While the next two weeks will keep the Demons busy, they also offer an opportunity for the entirety of the roster.

“If I’m one of our relievers, I’m chomping at the bit,” Barbier said. “There will be a lot of opportunities in the next two weeks to go out and perform well. Some guys who didn’t perform well this weekend or haven’t had as many opportunities will get their chance. It will be good to see how they respond over these five games.”

The Demons will start right-hander Ethan Francis (0-1, 6.75) on Tuesday while LSU-A counters with right-hander Austin Manuel (0-0, 5.50). Northwestern State has not announced a starting pitcher for Wednesday’s game in Ruston.

PHOTO: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services