NATCHITOCHES – If the Northwestern State baseball team is going to end the 2017 season with three straight Southland Conference series wins, it will have to do so from behind.
New Orleans took advantage of a pair of Demons errors, a wild pitch and a passed ball to build a four-run third inning, sending the Privateers on their way to an 8-1 win Thursday night at Brown-Stroud Field.
“I thought (NSU starter Nathan Jones) threw the ball as well tonight as he has all year,” first-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We just kicked it around in the one inning, and you can’t do that against a good offense. You do that against a good offense and they’re going to hang a crooked number. Credit their guys, when we made mistakes, they took advantage.”
Jones (4-8) retired the first six batters he faced before Tristan Clarke led off the third with a single on an 0-2 pitch. That started a run where four of five Privateers hitters reached with the lone out in that sequence coming on Orynn Veillon’s sacrifice fly.
Thanks to two errors and a passed ball, only one of the four New Orleans (26-26-1, 14-14) was earned, but that was plenty for Privateers right-hander Shawn Semple (9-3).
The Demons (20-32, 10-18) applied some early pressure against the UNO ace, but did not dent the scoreboard until Kelsey Richard’s solo home run with two outs in the seventh inning.
NSU pushed Semple to 114 pitches in seven innings, but the UNO starter always seemed to have the right answer.
“We didn’t find many holes, but when we had the chances, we didn’t execute,” Barbier said. “We had first and third (and one out), and we pop up. We get a man on second (with no outs) and get a bad base-running play. We hit into a couple of double plays. That’s how it goes when it’s not going very well.”
Richard’s second home run of the year came an inning after the Privateers extended their lead on Tristan Clarke’s two-run home run to right-center field against Jones, who turned in a quality start of seven innings, five hits, six runs (three earned) and six strikeouts. The six strikeouts were one off Jones’ season high, established in his second start of the season against Arkansas State on Feb. 24.
Spencer Goodwin collected his third straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 for the Demons while Clarke, Dakota Dean and Hezekiah Randolph all had two-hit games for the Privateers.
The series concludes with a 2 p.m. Friday doubleheader. NSU will start right-handers Evan Tidwell (4-6, 5.83) and Cullen McDonald (2-2, 3.88) against New Orleans left-hander Bryan Warzek (7-3, 2.18) and right-hander Riley Hodge (0-2, 6.32). The Demons will honor their seven-member senior class between the games.
New Orleans 8, Northwestern State 1
UNO 004 000 220 – 8 9 1
NSU 000 000 100 – 1 6 2
W – Shawn Semple (9-3). L – Nathan Jones (4-8). 2B – UNO, Dakota Dean; Hezekiah Randolph. NSU, Spencer Goodwin. HR – UNO, Tristan Clarke (10); NSU, Kelsey Richard (2). Highlights: UNO, Dean 2-4, 2B, RBI; Randolph 2-4, 2B, RBI; Clarke 2-4, HR, 2 RBIs. NSU Spencer Goodwin 2-3, 2B.