One byproduct of a weekend full of quality starts for the Northwestern State baseball team is a surplus of rested arms.
After seeing their three starting pitchers all work at least seven innings this past weekend against Southeastern, the Demons are well stocked for Wednesday’s 6 p.m. matchup with Louisiana Tech at Brown-Stroud Field.
“We’ve been blessed with really good starting pitching,” sixth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “Those three guys (Cal Carver, Johnathan Harmon and Drayton Brown) have been tremendous all year long, which has allowed us to do some of these things and not have these guys tired for these mid-week games. It will be good to get them out there and let them compete.”
The Demons (21-22) dropped the first of the two-game season series with the Bulldogs, falling 6-4 in Ruston on April 20. The final four innings of that game featured four different NSU relievers work a scoreless inning.
The Demon staff repeated the feat six days later at Grambling, closing out an 8-3 win against the Tigers with four scoreless frames.
Right-handers Dawson Flowers (three innings) and Donovan Ohnoutka (two innings) were involved in both games while Josh Banes tossed two scoreless innings as a starter at Grambling after working a 1-2-3, six-pitch eighth inning at Louisiana Tech.
Right-hander Ethan Francis (0-1, 4.61) will get the start for the Demons while the Bulldogs will announce their starter following Tuesday’s game against ULM.
“We’ll let a lot of them get out there and throw,” Barbier said. “We’re still trying to let multiple guys compete for bigger roles on the weekend. These next couple of mid-week games will be a good opportunity for those guys to do that.”
The Bulldogs (30-15) are making their first trip to Natchitoches since April 30, 2019, when the Demons held on for a 3-1 victory. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and its lingering effects in 2021, the teams did not meet in either Ruston or Natchitoches.
Louisiana Tech’s return to Natchitoches brings together three current or former NSU head coaches as Bulldog skipper Lane Burroughs coached the Demons from 2003-06 while Louisiana Tech associate head coach Mitch Gaspard skippered the Demons from 2002-07.
“It’s good to get them back down,” Barbier said. “It’s a series that will continue as long as Lane and I are both coaches here and there. It’s a really neat thing for two communities that have been going at it for a long time.”
Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services