NATCHITOCHES – Cort Brinson's five runs knocked in, capped by a three-run home run in the fifth inning, powered the Demon offense in the Northwestern State baseball team's 12-3 win over Grambling State Tuesday night in non-conference action at Brown-Stroud Field.
Brinson knocked in the game's first runs in the third inning on a two-run double down the left field line that scored Joel Atkinson from third base and Caleb Dugas from first base. His homer, on an 0-2 count, to left field pushed an 8-2 lead for the Demons (15-11) to 11-2.
Grambling fell to 7-21 on the year.
"Ever since Cort has been back from his injury, he has been swinging the bat very well," said Lane Burroughs. "He is one of our best hitters with two strikes. He got a pitch he could drive that was down and in, and he drove it out of the yard.
"He also had the big double that got us going," he said. "It was a big night for him, and it was good to see him driving in runs. That's what he is in that part of the order to do."
After Brinson's double in the third inning, Daughdrill singled down the right field line and scored Brinson. Daughdrill scored on a single to left field by Nathan Lyons after Bret Underwood's single and Regan Kauman's sacrifice bunt.
Atkinson led of the fourth inning with a five-pitch walk, and scored in the next at-bat on Dugas' double down the left field line. Brinson advanced Dugas to third base on a groundball to the right side before he scored when Daughdrill reached on an error to put the Demons up 6-2.
They added two more in the frame on a double to right field from Regan Kaufman that scored Daughdrill and Underwood, who reached on a double to right field one batter earlier. Northwestern State scored their final run in the seventh frame on a single to right field off of Kaufman's bat that scored Matt Alford, who singled down the left field line with two outs.
Grambling scored two run in the top of the fourth inning on Yariel Median's double to right center field He scored Juan Bueno and Edwin Drexler.
Drexler reached on fielder's choice in the eighth inning before he stole second base and scored the third Tiger run on a passed ball and error.
Eight of the nine starters in the lineup finished with a base hit, and all nine reached base. Dugas and Underwood led the way with three hits apiece; Dugas had six at-bats and Underwood had five. Nathan Lyons, Brinson, Kaufman and Edwin Gomez all had two hits each.
The Demons did not strikeout, and drew three walks and three hit-by-pitches. They finished with 17 hits on the night and had 11 RBIs.
Josh Oller (1-0) earned the win after a five inning start. He allowed two runs on four hits with three strikeouts. Brandon Smith relived Oller and worked two shutout innings with one hit allowed and one walk.
Devin Bear and Fielding Matkins finished out the game with one inning of work apiece. Bear allowed one unearned run and struck out one batter, and Matkins' inning was perfect.
"It was good to get Josh Oller out there. He is a possible weekend guy for us," said Burroughs. "For him to get in there and give us five quality innings was big. He ran into a little trouble, but he minimized it.
"Brandon Smith was electric tonight. That was the best he's looked all year," said Burroughs. "His pitches were down, he was in the upper 80s, and had it all working. We also got Devin Bear and Fielding Matkins back out there and that experience could be huge for us."
Isaac O'Bear (0-3) started for Grambling and lasted only two innings with three runs allowed on five hits. Michael Martin allowed five runs on six hits in 1.1 innings, and Coleman McKinney allowed four runs on six hits in 3.1 innings.
Northwestern State will play at Louisiana Tech on Wednesday at 6 o'clock before an early battle for first place in the Southland Conference standings with Nicholls. The Louisiana Tech game will be broadcast on 100.7 KZBL-FM in Natchitoches, and online at NSUDemons.com.