LSU staves off early NSU surge, pulls away late

BATON ROUGE – The Northwestern State baseball team fell down early Tuesday night in its regular-season finale at LSU.

The Demons came back swinging, using a couple of home runs to force their way back into the game, before the Tigers pulled away for a 19-7 victory at Alex Box Stadium.

“I thought we took some good swings,” sixth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “They threw all their better guys, which was good for us to see going into the (conference) tournament. We took some good swings. We played OK defense. We didn’t compete in the strike zone enough. No matter who you play, especially when they’re good, if you don’t compete in the strike zone, they’re going to put up some big numbers.”

Northwestern State (25-27) found itself down seven runs after a five-run LSU second inning before the Demons put together a five-run frame in the third.

Unsurprisingly, Jeffrey Elkins was in the middle of the Demons’ surge as the junior continued to produce at a strong clip against the Tigers (34-18).

Elkins’ two-run home run off Bryce Collins gave him home runs in consecutive games against the Tigers. In his Demon career, Elkins is 5-for-11 with a double, two home runs and six RBIs – driving in a pair of runs in all three games he has played against the Tigers.

Elkins’ shot to left-center drove Collins from the game, and the Demons quickly went to work on reliever Samuel Dutton.

After Bo Willis flew out to the center-field warning track, Gray Rowlett and Larson Fontenot singled off Dutton. Two batters later, Cam Sibley made another homecoming memory for the Demons.

A year after Larson Fontenot’s four-hit game, Sibley, a product of nearby Dutchtown High School, authored another Baton Rouge-area highlight, drilling a three-run home run to right field to pull the Demons within two.

“(Elkins) always seems to play well against these guys,” Barbier said. “It was good for the hometown guys to come in and get a few big hits.”

From there, the Tigers used a patient approach, mixed with a couple of big swings of their own to hand the Demons a seven-inning loss.

NSU pitchers hit a school-record 10 LSU batters, including the first three of the game by Dawson Flowers (0-3), and issued eight walks. Combined with 11 LSU hits, it led to a season high in runs allowed for Northwestern State.

LSU scored in every inning, capping the game with a seven-run sixth inning that included a grand slam by Hayden Travinski and the second solo home run of the game from Braden Jobert.

Reese Lipoma, a Gonzales native, drove in the game’s final run, notching his first Demon RBI with a two-out single in the seventh.

The Demons return to action Thursday when they open Southland Conference Tournament play against No. 4 seed Nicholls. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at McNeese’s Joe Miller Ballpark.

LSU 19, Northwestern State 7
NSU 105 000 1 – 7 7 1
LSU 351 217 x – 19 11 2

W – Paul Gervase (3-1). L – Dawson Flowers (0-3). 2B – LSU, Hayden Travinski. HR – NSU, Jeffrey Elkins (12), Cam Sibley (3). LSU, Braden Jobert 2 (14), Travinski (6). Highlights: NSU, Elkins 2-3, HR, 2 RBIs. LSU, Tre’ Morgan 2-3, 3 RBIs; Travinski 2-3, 2B, HR, 4 RBIs; Jobert 2-4, 2 HRs, 3 RBIs.
Records: Northwestern State 25-27, LSU 34-18.