YOUNGSVILLE – On opening weekend Northwestern State saw good hitting, pitching and defense. Unfortunately, it saw them at different times and in different games. Seeing them in the same game is what head coach Donald Pickett wants as NSU enters its second tournament weekend.
“We had a couple of good pitching performances and played well in a couple of those games and didn’t in a couple of others, so we were up and down all weekend,” he said. “Our hitting started off great, but we struggled some there at the end and really just couldn’t put it all together. It’s opening weekend and the hope is you learn from all that but it definitely wasn’t the start we wanted to get off to and just have to get better this week.”
The Lady Demons (1-3) will look for a bounce-back weekend as it plays in the highly-touted Mardi Gras Mambo weekend at the Youngsville Sports Complex alongside nine other Division I programs, including three other Southland Conference teams.
NSU plays doubleheaders on Friday against St. Thomas and Florida A&M starting at 2 p.m. and against Manhattan and Gardner-Webb Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. before closing the weekend with an 11 a.m. game on Sunday against Toledo. Live stats will be available for all games through www.nsudemons.com.
This is the second year in a row NSU is playing in the Mardi Gras Mambo weekend in the Lafayette suburb. The Demons went 3-2 at the tournament last season and are 7-3 when part of the field of team all-time.
“They’re going to be throwing a lot of different things at us and some different styles of play and teams,” Pickett said of the teams NSU will face during the weekend. “That will be good for us to see and hopefully more than anything we make sure we’re focused on playing the game the way we want to play and getting back into the swing early in the season.”
Like it did a year ago the Lady Demons take a solid pitching staff with some quality starts into the competitive weekend of games.
Maggie Darr threw a pair of 6.0 inning games against UTSA and Sam Houston only allowing three runs with 14 strikeout and in her first start as a Demon, Ryleigh Denton threw five strong innings against South Dakota State only allowing two runs.
After 16 combined hits in the two games prior, NSU managed just seven in the pair of losses on Sunday and only scored one run on a Derika Castillo home run, the first of her career.
When the hitting was good in the first two games it was really good for the Demons. Of the 16 total hits in the first two games of the season, six of them went for extra bases that also helped score or create a run.
Nani Winger hit her first career triple against Delaware and four other batters smacked doubles in the first two games.
Attacking the softball in the box, or in the field defensively, is something Pickett hopes to see more of on a more consistent basis as the Demons head into the second weekend of the season.
“I don’t think we aggressive in what we were doing consistently enough this past weekend to be able to win those games,” he said. “That’s definitely something that we’ve got to have and want to see that this weekend and see how we bounce back.”