BATON ROUGE – Counting by twos worked against the Northwestern State baseball team Tuesday night.
No. 5 LSU scored two runs in four different innings, setting the tone for a 9-3 Tigers victory in front of a paid crowd of 10,931 at Alex Box Stadium.
“They competed well,” first-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We stung some balls early in the game and couldn’t find any holes. We cut it to 6-1 and got the big two-run home run to cut it close. Then we make a couple of plays that allowed them to extend the lead. We fought hard tonight, and I’m proud of them.”
The Tigers (36-17) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Greg Deichmann’s 17th home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field off NSU starter Kyle Swanson (2-3) in the first inning.
After Swanson set LSU down in order in the second, Northwestern State (20-31) used a pair of two-out doubles in the third inning to cut the lead in half. Leadoff hitter Spencer Goodwin lined a hustle double to left-center before David Fry drilled a double to right-center field to score Goodwin.
Fry’s 21st double of the season moved him into a three-way tie for second place in school single-season history. The RBI was the 101st of his career, moving him within two of the NSU career top 10.
That run was all the Demons could muster against LSU starter Todd Peterson (3-1), who scattered four hits and a walk in five innings.
With Peterson keeping Northwestern State at bay, the Tigers tacked on two-run innings in the third and fourth to take a 6-1 lead.
Once Peterson left the game, the Demons jumped the LSU bullpen for their final rally of the game.
Cade Jones drew a four-pitch walk from Will Reese to lead off the sixth inning. Two batters later, Austin Townsend crushed a two-run home run off the Intimidator, the billboard beyond the right-field bleachers.
“Austin has that in him,” Barbier said. “It was crushed. That’s why we run him out there. He’s going to be a good player for us if he keeps working at it and understands the kind of talent he has.”
Tim Winders, the third Demons pitcher of the evening, tossed the final four innings, allowing just two earned runs as he continued a run of strong relief performances from a short-handed Demons bullpen.
“Since we’ve been handicapped with the injuries, it seems someone keeps stepping up,” Barbier said. “We needed it. I was thinking of going short with Tim, but he’s rolling. He was throwing the ball hard with a good slider. I was happy to see that for him, being a senior and throwing the ball well on this stage.”
Goodwin led the Demons with a 3-for-4 performance while Kramer Robertson paced LSU a home run and two doubles among his four hits.
The Demons return to action Thursday when they host New Orleans in the opener of a three-game Southland Conference series at Brown-Stroud Field. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.
No. 5 LSU 9, Northwestern State 3
NSU 001 002 000 – 3 7 3
LSU 202 202 01x – 9 14 1
W – Todd Peterson (3-1). L – Kyle Swanson (2-3). 2B – NSU, Spencer Goodwin; David Fry; Regan Kaufman. LSU, Kramer Robertson 2. HR – NSU, Austin Townsend (3). LSU, Kramer Robertson (6); Greg Deichmann (17); Zach Watson (4). Highlights: NSU, Goodwin 3-4, 2B; Fry 2B, RBI; Townsend HR, 2 RBIs. LSU, Robertson 4-5, 2 2Bs, HR, RBI; Cole Freeman 2-4, RBI; Deichmann HR, 2 RBIs; Nick Coomes 2-3, RBI; Michael Papierski 2-3; Watson HR, 2 RBIs.
Records: Northwestern State 20-31; LSU 36-17.