Southland Tournament bound Demons sweep New Orleans
NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB News Channel 5) Austin Tanner allowed only two base runners in six innings pitched, and gave the Northwestern State baseball team a chance to put up four runs in the fourth inning to complete the three-game series sweep over New Orleans with a 4-2 victory on Sunday at Brown-Stroud Field in Southland Conference play.
After the series win, the Demons (30-21, 18-9 SLC) locked a spot in the Southland Conference Tournament, and with the sweep, Northwestern State remains in a tie for third place with Nicholls. Both Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Sam Houston are tied atop the standings one game ahead of the Demons.
"It was one of those Sundays with a lot going on," said Demon head coach Lane Burroughs. "We had Senior Day and Mother's Day, and there were things happening everywhere. I thought our guys were slow to get started, but grabbed the bull by the horns in the fourth inning and were able to hang on to the lead."
Northwestern State honored Edwin Gomez, Nathan Lyons, Andrew Adams, Cody Butler, Cameron Brewer, Joey Parrack and Steven Spann, who played their final game at Brown-Stroud Field.
Tanner (2-1) entered the game in the third inning with a Privateer on first base and no outs, and UNO put down a sacrifice bunt to send the runner to second base. The next batter the freshman left-hander faced lined into a double play at Joel Atkinson, who quickly tossed the ball to second to get the front runner.
Tanner sat down the next eight batters he faced before he allowed a single to shallow center field, but the forced a pop up to end that frame and strand the runner. He earned the win on six scoreless innings pitched with the one hit allowed, one walk and struck out one batter.
"We challenged (Tanner) a little bit because his last few outing haven't been his best. He came out threw up six zeroes, and you can't ask for much better than that," said Burroughs. "Six innings with one walk and one hit is getting the job done, and very proud of him.
New Orleans jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on back-to-back singles from Reese Kanter and Hezekiah Randolph that each scored one run. The Demons, who were held to one hit in the first three innings, put up a four-run bottom of the fourth to grab a 4-2 lead they would not give up.
Chase Daughdrill opened the inning with a double down the left field line, and took third base on a single to right field from C.J. Webster two batters later. After Nick Heath drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases with no outs, Atkinson knocked in Daughdrill with a single through the left side for the Demons' first run.
Webster scored from third base on a wild pitch and tied the game, and Caleb Dugas capped the inning with a single through the left side that scored Heath and Atkinson.
"We talked about it yesterday. We have been leaving too many men on base when it really counted," said Burroughs. "Joel came up with a big single, and Dugas had a big hit that put us up."
Daniel Martinez (0-2) started the game for UNO, and pitched 4.1 innings. He was pulled after Atkinson's single, but all four runs that scored were his responsibility. He gave up four hits and one walk, and struck out two. Darron McKigney worked 2.2 frames and gave up four hits. Blake Prest pitched one inning, and allowed on walk.
Spann started on the mound for Northwestern State. He gave up both runs on two hits, two walks and two hit batters. Brewer (2) finished the game and earned the save after he gave up a leadoff hit, but sat down the next three batters in order.
NSU outhit New Orleans 8-4, and was led at the plate by Daughdrill and Webster, who each had two hits in the game. Dugas, Brinson, Heath and Atkinson each added at hit in the game. Samuel Capielano had two of the Privateers' four hits, and Kanter and Randolph had the others.
Northwestern State will play its final mid-week game of the season against LSU on Tuesday at 6:30 before they open the final series of the season at Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday at 6 o'clock. All four of those games will be carried on 100.7 KZBL in Natchitoches and online at NSUDemons.com. ?