Demons fall to EKU in Jaguar Classic finale

MOBILE, Alabama – Two-out rallies from Eastern Kentucky proved too much for the Northwestern State baseball team to overcome in its final game at the South Alabama Jaguar Classic on Sunday morning.

The Colonels used a pair of two-out rallies to fashion multi-run innings, including a three-run second, and pulled away from the Demons to score an 11-1 win at Eddie Stanky Field.

Northwestern State starter Drayton Brown zipped through the first inning, working around a leadoff error to retire the next three hitters. Brown (0-1) was close to working around a one-out, second-inning walk to Miguel Larreal before Roderick Criss started EKU’s first two-out salvo with an RBI double to left-center field.

Conner Davis followed with another RBI double before Logan Thompson’s RBI single capped the damage and gave the Colonels (3-1) a 3-0 lead.

Bailyn Sorensen had an answer for EKU, driving a 2-2 pitch from Colonel right-hander Rian Yates out to straightaway center field for his first home run of the season, cutting the lead to 3-1.

Sorensen’s home run seemed to settle Brown, who retired 12 straight EKU hitters from the second through the sixth inning. Brown worked 5 2-3 innings, scattering three hits while allowing four runs and striking out six.

Sorensen’s home run was the only extra-base hit the Demons (0-3) mustered against three EKU pitchers. After NSU knocked Yates from the game after four innings of one-run ball, Brock Blanton (1-0) wiggled out of a fifth-inning jam to toss a scoreless inning and earn the win.

Freshman shortstop Caleb Castle welcomed Blanton to the game with a single to center before Jake Haze drew one of his two walks on the day. Blanton responded by getting a fielder’s choice and a pair of strikeouts to escape the jam.

From there, EKU turned to right-hander Cameron Kalandros, who worked four scoreless innings of relief, allowing only Michael Dattalo’s eighth-inning single and two walks to earn his first save of the season.

Dattalo, a freshman from Keller (Texas) High School, hit safely in all three games of the Jaguar Classic, finishing the weekend 5-for-12.

The Demons trailed 4-1 entering the seventh inning when the Colonels struck with their second two-out surge.

Will King’s RBI single extended the lead before Ron Franklin dropped a two-out, two-run single inside the right-field line to push the lead to 7-1 before Sorensen threw out Franklin stealing second to end the inning.

Franklin capped the day with a three-run home run in the ninth inning, providing the final margin.

The Demons return to action Tuesday when they host LSU-Alexandria in NSU’s home opener. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Brown-Stroud Field.

Eastern Kentucky 11, NSU 1
EKU 030 001 313 – 11 11 1
NSU 010 000 000 – 1 5 1
W – Brock Blanton (1-0). L – Drayton Brown (0-1). 2B – EKU, Conner Davis 2, Will King, Jalen Jones, Roderick Criss. HR – EKU, Ron Franklin (1), Miguel Larreal (1). NSU, Bailyn Sorensen (1). Highlights: EKU, King 2-5, HR, RBI; Franklin 2-4, HR, 4 RBIs; Jones 2-5, 2B, RBI; Davis 2-4, 2 2Bs, RBI.
Records: Eastern Kentucky 3-1, Northwestern State 0-3.

Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services