Demons’ bats back sharp Carver as NSU downs Seton Hall

Gabe Colaianni had three hits and two RBIs in Friday’s win against Seton Hall.
Gabe Colaianni had three hits and two RBIs in Friday’s win against Seton Hall.(Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services)
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 8:09 PM CST
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SUGAR LAND, Texas (NSU) - Homecoming for several Northwestern State position players was a happy one Friday afternoon.

Led by a group of products from the greater Houston area, the Demons’ bats awakened and backed another stellar early-season start from Cal Carver in a 6-1 win against Seton Hall in the Sugar Land Space Cowboys Collegiate Classic at Constellation Field.

“Big hits and we played like a good baseball team today,” seventh-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We stole some bases. We played clean defense. Our starter was good. He’s been good twice in a row. Even the outs we made after the first two innings were loud. We had a chance early, and we screwed it up a little bit, but it was good to see us stick with it. Hopefully, we can build off of it offensively.”

The Demons (2-3) did not dent the scoreboard until the fourth inning, but Carver (1-0) held strong until they did.

A senior left-hander from San Antonio, Carver allowed just one hit – Mark McNelly’s one-out single in the third innings – in six shutout innings while striking out six. One of those came to end the third when he fanned Zack Sylvester with the bases loaded in a scoreless game.

NSU’s offense took that momentum and used it to break through in the top of the fourth as Gabe Colaianni delivered a two-out, RBI single and Daunte Stuart followed with an RBI double off Seton Hall starter Brennan O’Neill (0-1).

Carver followed with a perfect fourth inning, striking out a pair. With 12 strikeouts in his first two starts, Carver has increased his career total to 187, one shy of Adam Oller for seventh place in Demon career history.

“When we got out there and score two runs, one thing I’m thinking of is getting a shutdown inning, especially after an inning where I had the bases loaded with two outs and their best hitter up,” Carver said. “That’s really big time.”

Colaianni led the Demons’ season-high 10-hit attack with three hits and drove in two runs from the leadoff spot. A product of Missouri City, Texas, Colaianni was one of five position players from the greater Houston area in the starting lineup. All five recorded at least one hit and either scored or drove in a run.

Colaianni’s fourth-inning single drove in Jacob Farrell, a product of the northwest suburb of Cypress, and Stuart, from The Woodlands, doubled home Bo Willis, who hails from Magnolia.

“I talked with the coaches about staying through the middle of the field, keeping my barrel in the zone longer,” Colaianni said. “I felt I was getting out of the zone a little bit the first weekend. I got locked back in, going to the middle of the field, and good things happened. It was nice to be back home and see everyone.”

Colaianni’s three hits matched the total for Seton Hall (1-3), which scored its lone run with two outs in the ninth inning.

Farrell added two hits and a pair of stolen bases for the Demons, who scored four of their six runs with two outs and added another on a Stuart sacrifice fly with one out in the eighth inning.

NSU continues play in the tournament at 11 a.m. Saturday, facing New Mexico State.