Huskies capitalize on chances, deny Demons sweep
NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) -The clutch hit the Northwestern State baseball found during its first two games against Houston Baptist this weekend went missing Sunday in the series finale.
While the Demons could not find the hit they needed most, the visiting Huskies capitalized on their opportunities and pulled away late to salvage a 10-1 win in the third game of the Southland Conference series at Brown-Stroud Field.
“We didn’t get the big hit early, like we have the first couple of games,” sixth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We didn’t execute with a man on third, and they made a nice play on a banger at home that could have gone either way. We didn’t give ourselves a chance. When your starting pitcher goes 7 1-3, you should have a chance to win.
“We didn’t give ourselves a very good chance of doing that.”
Sophomore right-hander Drayton Brown (4-4) pitched seven-plus innings, allowing four runs but the Demons (19-20, 8-7) could not capitalize on early chances against Houston Baptist starter Matthew Charles.
Charles (3-0) worked six innings, allowing at least one base runner in each, but limited the damage to Gray Rowlett’s RBI double off the left-center field wall in the fifth inning that cut Houston Baptist’s lead to 2-1.
While the Demons’ defense helped pick up Johnathan Harmon in his complete-game effort Saturday, the Huskies (15-26, 8-7) made the majority of the game-changing plays defensive Sunday.
None was bigger than shortstop Diego Davila’s relay throw that nipped Bo Willis at the plate as Willis tried to score on Larson Fontenot’s two-out double in the fourth.
Davila started the scoring with a leadoff home run in the third inning before the Huskies added another run on back-to-back wild pitches in the inning.
Brown kept the Demons in the game, striking out a career-high-tying eight in his seven-plus innings, leaving after issuing a leadoff walk in the eighth.
After Brown left, Houston Baptist poured on five runs in the eighth and a pair in the ninth. The five runs in the eighth matched the Huskies’ run total for the first two games of the series.
“Just about every weekend this year, we’ve had three solid starts,” Barbier said. “That gives you a chance to settle in the game and win the game if you can string some things together. We didn’t do a very good job of that today.”
Rowlett had the Demons’ only multi-hit game, going 2-for-4. Rowlett has four multi-hit games in his past six starts, dating to a three-hit game April 16 at Nicholls.
Davila (2-for-3) and Brennan Bales (2-for-4, RBI) paced Houston Baptist’s nine-hit attack.
The Demons return to action Tuesday when they travel to Grambling to open a five-game week. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones at Wilbert Ellis Field.
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