NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State baseball team put together solid at-bats for the second straight game Saturday afternoon against visiting Nicholls.
The results, however, were not as indicative as they had been in Friday night’s series opener.
Despite hitting several balls hard, the Demons were rewarded with just five hits while the Colonels produced 14 in a series-tying 9-1 victory at Brown-Stroud Field.
“I thought we hit some balls well,” first-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “Hits aren’t always going to come. The last two days, we’ve swung the bat well. It’s not telling by the five hits we got today. We did probably shoot ourselves in the foot some by swinging at some balls and elevating balls on a tough day to hit.”
A day after the Demons (5-9, 1-1) jumped Nicholls ace Cole Stapler, Northwestern State could not mount much sustained offense against right-hander Cayden Hatcher (1-1).
Hatcher shut out the Demons on one hit through six innings before Matthew Alford connected on his first home run of the season to lead off the seventh inning.
By then, the Colonels had built a 9-0 lead thanks to an offense that took advantage of some well-placed hits.
Nicholls tagged Demons starter John Carter Sanner (1-1) for 10 hits and six runs in 5 2-3 innings. A pair of infield hits helped propel the Colonels to a two-run third inning, giving them their first lead of the series.
Justin Holt’s RBI infield single kept the inning alive, following an RBI groundout by Lee Clark.
The Demons nearly struck back in their half of the third as Emile Lege drove a ball to the top of the right-center field wall, but Gavin Wehby’s leaping grab kept Northwestern State scoreless.
Nicholls opened its lead with a four-run sixth inning – all of which happened after Sanner retired the first two batters of the inning.
Troy Cahill’s two-run home run in the seventh inning capped Nicholls’ scoring.
“Our bullpen has to come in and get guys out,” Barbier said. “It’s been that way the last few weeks where, late in the game, we have to come in and make pitches. We have guys who can do it. We’ll get better.”
Alford and Austin Townsend had Northwestern State’s only extra-base hits Saturday as Townsend struck his third double in two games.
Wehby, Clark, Cahill, Gage Teer and Ethan Valdez each had two hits to pace the Colonels attack.
The series concludes Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch. The Demons will send right-hander Evan Tidwell (1-1, 7.24) to the mound against Nicholls left-hander Mike Hanchar (2-0, 0.83).
Nicholls 9, Northwestern State 1
Nicholls 002 014 200 – 9 14 0
Northwestern State 000 000 100 – 1 5 1
W – Cayden Hatcher (1-1). L – John Carter Sanner (1-1). 2B – NICH, Gage Teer; Ethan Valdez. NWST, Austin Townsend. HR – NICH, Troy Cahill (2); NWST, Matthew Alford (1). Highlights: NICH, Gavin Wehby 2-5, 2 RBIs; Teer 2-4, 2B, 2 RBIs; Lee Clark 2-4, 2 RBIs; Cahill 2-4, HR, 2 RBIs; Valdez 2-4. NWST, Alford HR, RBI.
Records: Nicholls 8-6, 1-1; Northwestern State 5-9, 1-1.