Demons open four-game homestand by hosting Louisiana Tech

An early end to the Northwestern State baseball team’s home mid-week schedule comes complete with plenty of familiar faces.

The Demons host Louisiana Tech at 6 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN+, which marks another return to Brown-Stroud Field for current Bulldog head coach Lane Burroughs and associate head coach Mitch Gaspard, both of whom are former NSU head coaches.

“It will be good to see those guys,” said seventh-year head coach Bobby Barbier, who played four years for Gaspard and coached two seasons under Burroughs at Northwestern State. “I have a lot of respect for Mitch and Lane. It will be good to do that.”

Tuesday night marks the final home mid-week game of the season for the Demons (15-12), who are coming off a series win at New Orleans in their first Southland Conference series of the season.

The Demons picked up the series-clinching win behind a tag-team pitching effort from Drayton Brown and Chase Prestwich, who combined for 14 strikeouts while walking one and allowing only five hits – all singles.

Prestwich, who was named Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season after working four scoreless innings to notch his first career save, has started four of the Demons’ first five mid-week games but will not do so Tuesday.

Instead, the Demons will turn to right-hander Andrew Cossio (0-0, 6.75) to start what will be a staff day for NSU pitching. The Demons have a short turnaround ahead of this week’s Southland Conference home series against Lamar, which begins Thursday night at Brown-Stroud Field.

“We’re not going to extend anybody a whole bunch,” Barbier said. “There will be a lot of one- or two-inning guys. It will give some other guys an opportunity to come out and show what they can do and compete. Hopefully, they can take the lead from those other guys they watched this weekend. I thought we threw the ball very well this weekend.”

Louisiana Tech (14-14) enters having dropped two of three games against Dallas Baptist this past weekend. The Bulldogs have made consecutive NCAA Regional berths, including hosting one following the 2021 season.

“They’re a good team,” Barbier said. “There’s no doubt about that. They’ve played a really tough schedule.”

Tuesday’s game kicks off the only remaining homestand of more than three games for Northwestern State, which will play four home games in a five-day stretch this week. Following the Lamar series, NSU will play 13 of its final 22 games on the road.

“Look at UNO,” Barbier said. “UNO was 10-1 at home (before this weekend) and 3-11 on the road or whatever they were. That makes it a lot easier at home. You know the hops. You get to hit last, which is important. It’s going to be good to get out there and play at the house.”