Demons drop second straight to hot-hitting HBU

Photo source: Chris Reich (NSU)
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NATCHITOCHES, La. (NSU) - While rain pushed back the start of Saturday’s Southland Conference baseball game between Northwestern State and Houston Baptist, it could not slow the homestanding Huskies offense.

Houston Baptist produced its second straight double-figure scoring output, jumping out to another early lead, and clinched the series with a 12-2 win against the visiting Demons at Husky Field in a game that started 30 minutes late because of showers that passed through shortly before game time.

“Give HBU credit,” third-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “They came out really swinging the bats, and we didn’t have much of an answer.”

The Huskies (8-18, 2-6) wasted little time duplicating their high-scoring effort in Friday’s 10-2 win.

The first five Houston Baptist hitters collected hits against Maddox before Chase Talbot’s three-run home run with two outs capped a seven-run outburst that gave the Huskies a lead they would not relinquish.

For the second straight day, the Demons (13-11, 5-6) were unable to pressure a Houston Baptist starter.

One day after right-hander Zach Carter stifled Northwestern State for seven shutout innings, Brady Batten (1-3) nearly matched his effort.

Batten surrendered three hits – all singles – and worked around four walks in six scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season.
In his six innings, Batten allowed just two runners to reach scoring position and did not allow an NSU hit with runners in scoring position.

After Maddox was unable to make it out of the second inning, right-hander David Hodo came in and, after surrendering a pair of run-scoring hits, quieted the Huskies across the next four innings.
Hodo worked a career-long 4 2-3 innings, scattering four hits and allowing only one run.

Offensively, the Demons came to life in the seventh inning as Marshall Skinner greeted reliever Cody Collins with a line-drive double to right field.

Chaney Dodge followed with an RBI double, scoring Skinner. Collins walked Sam Taylor before retiring the next two Demons hitters. After Austin Stegall drew one of his two walks on the day, Collins hit Larson Fontenot with a pitch to force home the second run of the inning.

Stegall had Northwestern State’s lone multi-hit game, collecting a pair of singles as the Demons managed just seven hits against Batten and a trio of HBU relievers.

Meanwhile, the Huskies notched 15 hits, their second straight double-figure hit performance of the weekend. Brandon Bena went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs while Talbot was 2-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs out of the ninth spot in the HBU order.

The loss was the second straight conference defeat for the Demons, the first time that has happened this season.

“We are in a spot where we need to stay together and get this thing figured out,” Barbier said. “We believe in the guys in that dugout, and it’s not going our way for whatever reason. We will get through it and be better for it when we do.”

The series concludes with a 2 p.m. Sunday matchup. Nathan Jones (3-1, 2.67) takes the mound for Northwestern State against Houston Baptist right-hander Kyle Gruller (0-3, 1.83).