NATCHITOCHES, La. -- Northwestern State’s pitching and defense held Arkansas-Pine Bluff scoreless for 20 of 21 innings in a three-game sweep this weekend.
The one inning where the Golden Lions scored, they posted five runs, but the Lady Demons mustered enough offense to complete the sweep Saturday.
NSU came back for a 6-5 win in the first game before pulling away in a 7-0 victory. The Lady Demons (12-7) had a 6-0 win Friday to begin the series against UAPB (3-10).
The Lady Demons start Southland Conference play at home March 9 and 10 against Lamar.
NSU 6, UAPB 5
The Lady Demons needed three fifth-inning runs to erase a 5-3 UAPB lead to secure the win in the first game.
With the bases loaded, NSU didn’t record a hit yet scored three runs. Julie Rawls was hit by a pitch, Emma Hawthorne walked and Kaylee Isenburg’s sacrifice fly did the damage to retake the lead.
The inning included three walks and a hit-by-pitch, one of six free passes issued by UAPB pitcher Juliana Dominguez.
NSU started the game with three first-inning runs before Dominguez skirted trouble in the second, third and fourth innings.
After Madelyn Matt and Kayla Roquemore opened with singles, NSU scored its runs on RBI singles by Rawls (2 RBIs) and Hawthorne (2 RBIs) and a defensive error. Natchitoches natives Matt and Roquemore were at the top of the lineup, combining for two hits and three runs scored in the opener.
“It feels great to get out there, be behind my teammates and get the opportunity to play the game I love,” said Roquemore, who scored three runs on the day. “I take it one pitch at a time, going back to what I know, and take advantage of every chance I get.
“I can take (playing time) either way. Make it a big thing, go crazy and get too shaky. Or you can relax, stay positive and know that I’ve got it. I tell myself every time before I get up there, ‘You can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ I stayed calm and did the job that the coaches needed me to do.”
UAPB scored five runs in the fourth inning – all before registering an out.
Four singles and two hit-by-pitches chased starter Mikayla Brown as UAPB accounted for three runs, then Toni Martinez doubled in two runs off reliever E.C. Delafield (credited to Brown).
But Delafield (3-3) stopped UAPB’s momentum with three straight outs with two runners in scoring position, then held UAPB scoreless in the last three innings for the win.
The Stonewall freshman allowed three hits in four scoreless innings.
Brown allowed five runs on four hits in three innings in the no decision, but she combined on a shutout in the second game.
NSU 7, UAPB 0
Senior pitcher Micaela Bouvier tossed the first four innings of a combined shutout with junior Mikayla Brown, who entered for the final three innings and redeemed a rocky start in Game 1.
Bouvier (5-1) allowed one hit and worked around two walks in her second win of the weekend.
Brown surrendered two hits and a walk in her three scoreless innings.
The pitching duo was backed by a solid defense that turned two double plays and didn’t commit any errors.
Sophomore shortstop Toni Hebert caught a line drive and dove to tag a runner going to third base in the second inning.
Sophomore third baseman Sidney Harris had a hand in every third-inning out, diving for an attempted bunt before starting a double play to end the inning.
Harris went 2-for-3 at the plate, including a 2-RBI double in the fifth inning that broke open the contest (4-0 lead).
“My confidence shoots up when I’m at the plate, and I just think about the job I have to do,” Harris said. “The funny thing about (the double) is I was just thinking, ‘Stay down, stay down on the ball’ – something (NSU coach Donald Pickett) always says.
“I’m definitely getting more comfortable at third base, but also, I’m looking out for pitchers. I wanted to make (Bouvier’s) outing as short as possible with a (sore shoulder).”
NSU scratched the scoreboard in the first inning with a Cayla Jones groundout RBI for an early 1-0 edge.
Harris scored in the fourth inning on an Emma Hawthorne two-out RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
After Harris’ two RBIs in the fifth inning, NSU tacked on three runs in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach.
After a Kaylee Isenburg leadoff double, Hawthorne singled in pinch runner Kayla Roquemore. A two-out error, one of three UAPB mistakes in the game, plated two more runs in Hayley Barbazon and Codi Vernace (both singled).
UAPB starter Karia Hall (0-4) allowed seven runs (four earned) on eight hits in the loss.