Northwestern State splits on final day of Texas Classic

NSU #2 Cayla Jones
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AUSTIN, Tx (NSU) - Northwestern State softball split Sunday’s pair of games to finish the Texas Classic 2-2 this weekend.

The Lady Demons (2-2) drew 11 walks and three hit-by-pitches en route to a 9-5 win against Boston College to start the day.

NSU couldn’t repeat its comeback in a 2-1 loss to Boise State after engineering seventh-inning win (3-2) against the Broncos in the season opener.

NSU 9, Boston College 5

Northwestern State took advantage of plentiful free passes to top Boston College in the opener of Sunday’s doubleheader.

The Lady Demons scored nine runs in the first five innings thanks in part to 11 walks, three hit by pitches and two errors.

After the Eagles scored two runs and chased starter E.C. Delafield, the Lady Demons offense answered with two runs in the first inning, a run in the second and three runs in the third inning.

Freshman Riley Cantrell delivered a two-RBI single in the first inning, scoring Cayla Jones (single) and Kaitlyn St. Clair (reached on error) to tie the game 2-2. Jones went 2-for-2 with two walks.

Cantrell (1-for-4) supplied a career-high three RBIs on the day when she tacked on a RBI ground out as part of a three-run fifth inning for a 9-2 edge.

Walks by Hayley Barbazon and Nikki Skerlong followed by a Jones single loaded the bases in the fifth inning, and St. Clair and Hawthorne provided RBI singles to pair with Cantrell’s RBI in the frame.

“It’s really good to be patient, but we also can’t be too patient,” said NSU coach Donald Pickett. “When we do get a pitch to hit, we’ve got to jump on it and drive it.

“Sometimes we took too many strikes, and I’d like to see us be more aggressive and hit the ball hard in the gap.”

The offense was more than enough for freshman reliever Bronte Rhoden, who tossed 5 1/3 relief innings for her second win of the season.

Rhoden (2-0) retired 16 straight batters after entering the game with one out in the first inning. Boston College didn’t get a hit until the seventh inning on a Gianna Boccagno home run, which started a three-run final inning for the Eagles.

“Bronte is just a bulldog, and she did a great job of closing the door there early,” Pickett said. “She got outs, and we put runs on the board to stretch it out before Guile comes in at the end.

“I’m really proud of Bronte and Guile today.”

Rhoden had her streak of 11 1/3 scoreless innings to start the season snapped, but reliever Samantha Guile held Boston College and stopped the rally.

Rhoden struck out one and hit a batter in the victory, allowing three runs on two hits, all in the seventh inning.

NSU’s win over Boston College (Atlantic Coast Conferece) is its fourth victory against a Power 5 member since 2016. The Lady Demons topped Oklahoma State and Mississippi State in 2016 and Maryland in 2017.

Boise State 2, NSU 1

Northwestern State couldn’t find seventh-inning magic again Sunday as the Lady Demons fell to Boise State, 2-1, in the finale of the Texas Classic.

NSU (2-2) recorded a comeback win in its opener Friday against the Broncos (2-2) by scoring two seventh-inning runs in a 3-2 victory, capped by a Kaitlyn St. Clair walk-off RBI-single.

But BSU pitcher Kelsey Broadus, the reigning Mountain West Pitcher of the Year, shut the Lady Demons down in the middle and late innings, retiring the final 10 batters she faced.

The junior St. Clair provided NSU’s only run with an RBI single in the third inning, scoring junior Hayley Barbazon and slice the Broncos lead to 2-1. St. Clair’s hit was the lone base knock of the day against Broadus.

“We started laying off of Broadus’ higher pitches and made her work down some, but we didn’t make the adjustments we needed to make,” said NSU coach Donald Pickett. “It’s early in the year, and Boise State is a really good team, but we’ll work more on that area.”

Barbazon and sophomore Cayla Jones recorded consecutive walks to set up NSU’s third inning, and Broadus did walk three batters and hit another to supply NSU with four of its five base runners.

Broadus’ effectiveness overshadowed a solid outing from NSU junior transfer Samantha Guile, who held a powerful Boise State offense to two runs on four hits with two strikeouts.

Both Broncos’ runs came in the first inning on a Bradie Fillmore two-run home run. NSU’s lone error placed a runner on for Fillmore, who delivered BSU’s only scores.

Guile (0-2) scattered four hits and two walks in six innings with just one earned run against a Broncos’ offense that led the nation in multiple offensive categories in 2018.

“Samantha did a great job today – she gave us a chance to win,” Pickett said. “With outings like that, we’ll win quite a few games.”
Guile allowed five earned runs (seven total) in 10 2/3 innings over three outings in her debut weekend after transferring from Southern Utah.