NATCHITOCHES, La. (NSU) - After a 30-minute lightning delay pushed back the start of Friday’s doubleheader with Southeastern, Northwestern State provided a little electricity of its own with dual 6-1 wins against Southeastern.
The Lady Demons (16-16, 8-3 Southland Conference) scored five second-inning runs en route to a 6-1 win in the opener.
NSU erased an early SLU lead in the second game with two multiple-run innings to win the back end of the doubleheader 6-1.
The Lady Demons got star performances from pitchers E.C. Delafield and Samantha Guile, both of whom allowed just one earned run in wins.
“We got good pitching and played great on defense against an SLU team that put a lot of pressure on us,” said NSU coach Donald Pickett. “We were able to jump on them early in the first game and the grand slam for (Cayla Jones) was set up by runners at the bottom of the lineup getting on base.
“In the second game, SLU jumped on us first, but we answered back then opened it up for Guile, who took over from there. We’ll get SLU’s best game (Saturday) for sure, so we’ll have to come out ready to play.”
NSU secured the first annual Cypress Trophy on the opening day, and the Lady Demons will attempt a sweep of SLU (19-13, 7-4 SLC) in the noon finale.
Game 1: NSU 6, SLU 1
NSU might have mustered only six hits, but the Lady Demons pieced together their most important inning with timely hits that took advantage of free bases.
Sophomore Cayla Jones smacked a grand slam for NSU’s second hit of the inning, capping the Lady Demons’ five run frame.
“It was a really big shift in the game, and after that, we just kept rolling,” Jones said. “We needed that big spark, and I’m just glad I was a part of it.
“We have to keep the momentum (Saturday) because that’s still a great team over there.”
The grand slam is NSU’s first of the season and Jones’ second of her career. The second baseman also hit one against McNeese in 2018.
NSU started the inning with an E.C. Delafield single and loaded the bases with hit-by-pitches from Maggie Black and Nikki Skerlong.
Junior Elise Vincent drew an RBI walk before Jones deposited her team-high tying fifth home run of the season.
That’s all that Delafield needed in the circle, twirling a three-hitter with just one run allowed.
The sophomore didn’t walk a batter and plunked one, allowing just five Lady Lions to reach base (including one error).
Delafield (4-1) has won her last four starts, including three in conference play.
SLU put three runners in scoring position, but Delafield stranded all three.
The Lady Lions scored their lone run with Karlee Kraft led off the fifth inning with a solo home run to cut NSU’s lead to 5-1.
SLU pieced together two of its three hits in the sixth inning, but Delafield induced a foul out to eliminate its best scoring opportunity.
NSU added a run when Hayley Barbazon scored on SLU’s lone error in the fifth inning. Barbazon led off with a single and advanced on an Alexis Perry single and a Delafield fielder’s choice.
Game 2: NSU 6, SLU 1
Southeastern manufactured an early run with an Ali McCoy RBI single in the second inning, but Guile didn’t give another inch.
Guile (5-7) allowed just three hits with two walks and a hit by pitch to record her third win in her last four appearances.
“My team made it easy for me tonight,” Guile said. “Winning the first game, it was fun to build off that and take the second one to win the series.
“Our pitching coach (Brooke Boening) knew exactly what to throw, and we worked really hard on defense and offense.”
After working around three different innings in which SLU put a runner on and stole second base, Guile retired the final eight batters to secure the win.
Offensively, NSU scored its six runs in three different innings.
The Lady Demons took the lead for good in the third inning by scoring two runs on a Kaitlyn St. Clair sacrifice fly. Elise Vincent scored on the fly ball and Hayley Barbazon scored on a catcher error, one of five SLU mistakes.
But it was leadoff hitter Cayla Jones who led the way again in the second game.
Jones, who was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, had a hand in all of NSU’s four other runs.
Her two-RBI double handed the Lady Demons a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning. SLU started the inning with two errors as pitcher Alley McDonald’s (6-4) five of her six runs allowed were unearned.
After another St. Clair RBI on a line drive out, Jones drove home Maggie Black on an RBI single.
Including Jones’ grand slam from the first game, she had seven RBIs on the day