Baseball — Resilient Demons squeeze past Kansas in 10 innings

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LAWRENCE, Kansas – There was no doubt the Northwestern State baseball team earned its first road win of the year.

Spencer Goodwin drew a two-out hit by pitch, stole second base and scored when Kansas third baseman Benjamin Sems could not handle Miller Parker’s grounder in the 10th inning, lifting the Demons to a 7-6 victory against the Jayhawks on Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.

The win, which came in a game that saw the lead change hands in the sixth and eighth innings, snapped a four-game losing streak for the Demons (4-6), who avoided being swept for the first time this season.

“I’m very happy with the guys for sticking with it and fighting through some adversity at the end,” first-year coach Bobby Barbier said. “I told the guys that it will turn, but we have to make it turn for us. The game owes you nothing. You have to earn everything.”

The Demons enjoyed a strong start for the second straight game against the Jayhawks (4-7).

David Fry connected on his second home run of the season, a three-run shot with two outs in the third inning that started the scoring.

Backed by Fry’s blast, right-hander Evan Tidwell cruised through the first three innings before surrendering a single run in the fourth inning. Tidwell escaped further damage by stranding the bases loaded in the fifth.

For the second straight game, Northwestern State was unable to build on its early offense and watched Kansas take the lead with a three-run sixth inning aided by a wind-aided, three-base error.

Cole Langdon (1-0) relieved Tim Winders and closed out the sixth before keeping the Jayhawks scoreless in the seventh, allowing the Demons to put together their best offensive inning of the game.

Fry, Matthew Alford and Cade Jones started the eighth with consecutive singles with Jones’ bringing in Fry to tie the game.

From there, the Demons went to the short game as Goodwin dropped a perfect safety squeeze bunt. Kansas second baseman James Consentino could not handle the throw at first base, allowing Goodwin to reach safely and Jones to move to third base.

Two batters later, Regan Kaufman delivered a pinch-hit sacrifice fly for a key insurance run.

Fry, Alford and Jones combined for six of the Demons’ eight hits, driving in four of the team’s seven runs.

“Dave got us going there early in the game with the big homer, and Regan came off the bench and got the big sac fly,” Barbier said. “He didn’t start the last two games with a left-handed pitcher going, but he is a very unselfish player who encourages his teammates and stays ready when needed.”

The Demons needed some encouragement after Jaxx Groshans’ two-out, two-run single tied the game in the ninth, forcing NSU to the third extra-inning game in its first 10 games.

Goodwin and Parker, high school teammates at Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, teamed up to pressure Kansas’ defense into its third error of the game, and freshman Evan Daigle worked around a two-out walk to work a scoreless 10th inning for his second save of the season.

The Demons continue their road trip through Kansas on Tuesday and Wednesday at Kansas State. Both games are set for a 3 p.m. first pitch.

Northwestern State 7, Kansas 6, 10 innings
NSU 003 000 030 1 – 7 8 1
KU 000 103 002 0 – 6 11 3
W – Cole Langdon (1-0). L – Stephen Villines (0-2). S – Evan Daigle (2). 2B – KU, Brett Vosik. HR – NSU, David Fry (2). Highlights: NSU, Fry 2-4, HR, 3 RBIs; Matthew Alford 2-5; Cade Jones 2-4, RBI. KU, Matt McLaughlin 2-5; Brett Vosik 3-4, 2B, RBI; Rudy Karre 2-4, RBI; Jaxx Groshans 2-4, 3 RBIs.
Records: Northwestern State 4-6; Kansas 4-7.

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