NATCHITOCHES – Evan Tidwell and the rest of the Northwestern State bullpen shutout Louisiana-Monroe for the final eight innings in a 6-1 win to extend the Demons' non-conference win streak to four Tuesday night at Brown-Stroud Field.
Tidwell came on in the second inning after Northwestern State (22-14) allowed a Warhawk (16-23) run in the opening frame. He pitched four innings and allowed only two hits and struck out two. The freshman right-hander allowed a hit in the second inning, but after a double play to end the frame, sat down the next six batters.
"I think we have a theme developing in midweek games to where Tidwell has to come and weather the storm," said head coach Lane Burroughs. "He came in and weathered that storm, and did a great job."
Tidwell earned the win, and pushed his record to 2-1 on the year. His first win was against Louisiana-Monroe exactly seven days earlier. He took the hill in the second inning, and worked three innings in that contest.
Brandon Smith took the mound in the sixth inning and allowed only one hit and struck out three, including all of the batters in the eighth inning. He faced one batter over the minimum.
"Brandon Smith was electric tonight. That's two times in a row that he's been that good," said Burroughs.
Steven Spann finished the game in the ninth inning. He walked the first batter he faced, induced a ground ball for a double play and forced another ground ball to end it.
"It was good to get him back on the horse. We wanted him back out there because of the bad taste in his mouth from his last outing," said Burroughs. "He did what Steven Spann does."
C.J. Webster's single that fell between three guys just inside the right field foul line scored Chase Daughdrill, who reached on a single with one out. Nathan Lyons followed Daughdrill's single with one through the left side, and scored from third base on a fielder's choice from Joel Atkinson.
The Demons added another run in the fifth inning on Caleb Dugas' single through the right side that scored Atkinson, who got aboard on an infield single. The big inning was in the seventh frame, capped by a two-run double that short-hopped the left center field wall to score Dugas and Bret Underwood.
Brinson later scored on a ground out from Regan Kaufman. The Warhawks used three different pitchers to get out of the inning, each recorded only one out.
Northwestern State's two, three, four, and five-hole hitters were 9-for-19 on the night with four runs scored and five runs driven in. Underwood was 3-of-5 with one run scored. Dugas and Brinson finished 2-of-5, and Daughdrill was 2-of-4.
"That's encouraging with Dugas and Brinson coming off a weekend when they weren't at their best," said Burroughs. "All of those guys have been working their tails off. To see them get big hits was nice."
All but one Demon in the lineup reached base, and seven batters had a hit. Webster was 2-for-3, and Lyons and Aktinson each added one hit apiece.
"We got the big hits when we needed them," said Burroughs. "A lot of times midweek games can be a challenge this late in the year. I'm very proud of the way the concentrated and fought through adversity and got the win."
Josh Morris started on the mound for NSU, and worked the first inning. He allowed ULM's only run on a single to right center that scored Anthony Herrera from third base. He induced a fly ball and struck out Jacob Stockton to limit the damage and end the inning.
Payton Coddou (0-2) was tagged with the loss after he allowed three runs on six hits in 4.1 innings pitched. Josh Leone was allowed the three runs on four-straight hits in one-third of inning in the seventh.
NSU will host another crucial Southland Conference battle this weekend with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. That series is slated to begin on Thursday at 6:30 in Brown-Stroud Field.