COLLEGE STATION, TX -- For five-plus innings Tuesday night, the Northwestern State baseball team was on even footing with No. 9 Texas A&M.
Then the Aggies’ high-powered offense took advantage of the Demons leaving the door open, using a huge sixth inning to propel Texas A&M to a 6-1 win at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
“It’s amazing how our game works, how it comes down to the smallest thing,” second-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We got such a great start out of Jerry Maddox. He was as good as I’ve seen him in his time as a Demon. We built off of that. Their guy (Chandler Jozwiak) was really good, too – a lefty throwing 91 with a slider. I thought we fought in our at-bats. They just had a few more pieces when they got in trouble to lock it down for them. I’m proud of how our guys fought.”
While Maddox retired the first 11 Aggies he faced, the Demons (7-5) struck first when David Fry launched an RBI ground-rule double to right field in the third inning. It was Fry’s 54th career double, pulling him within five of the school record, and extended his hitting streak to a career-long-tying 10 games.
That was all the Demons could muster against Jozwiak, a freshman left-hander who struck out eight without issuing a walk in five innings.
Maddox (0-2) was every bit of Jozwiak’s equal, keeping the Aggies (12-1) off the bases until Braden Shewmake’s two-out single in the fourth inning. Maddox mixed his pitches well, changing speeds and locations, until running into trouble in the sixth inning.
A leadoff walk to Zach DeLoach sparked a five-run inning where the Aggies drew all three of their walks and combined them with a balk and two big doubles, included a bases-clearing, three-run shot by Will Frizzell to score five times.
“I’m proud of the way Jerry pitched,” Barbier said of his starter who went 5 1-3 innings and allowed four hits and four runs (three earned) while striking out a career-high five. “We had the one inning where we made a few mistakes. That’s what good teams do, take advantage of mistakes. (Tyler) Pigott came in and was really, really good.
“It’s good to see those guys come back and have two or three good outings in a row and build some confidence.”
Pigott, who had worked 1 1-3 innings in his first two appearances this season, retired seven of the eight batters he faced in his 2 1-3 scoreless innings Tuesday night.
Fry, who moved into eighth place on NSU’s all-time at-bats list (654), and Caleb Ricca each had two hits for the Demons, who outhit Texas A&M, 9-6.
“They’ve got a really good team over there,” Barbier said. “They cover ground, they’ve got power. The guys on the mound did a good job. I really liked the way we competed, the way we fought tonight.”
The series concludes at 3 p.m. Wednesday with right-hander Cullen McDonald (0-0, 9.00) making his first start of the season. Texas A&M is expected to use the series finale as a bullpen game.