NATCHITOCHES – Patience paid dividends for the Northwestern State baseball team Tuesday night.
The Demons set season highs in runs and walks in a 16-1 mid-week victory against Prairie View A&M at Brown-Stroud Field, extending its mid-week win streak to four games.
“We did a good job,” first-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We swung the bats well. We had some new guys in the lineup who I thought did a good job, Hunter Uzzle and Miller Parker especially. Everyone who touched the mound – they hadn’t been out there in a while – they were sharp. That isn’t easy to do.”
The Panthers (13-27) took a 1-0 lead three batters into the game before the Demons answered emphatically in the bottom of the first.
The first three Northwestern State (12-23) hitters reached base setting in motion a six-run Demons first that Parker capped with a two-run double.
Parker finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored out of the nine spot in the Demons order. Parker, Hunter Uzzle (two RBIs, three runs) and Caleb Ricca (2-for-5, 3 RBIs) gave NSU a productive bottom third of the order.
“Coming out every day, you’ve got to stay on your game and, when you get that opportunity, you take full advantage of it,” Parker said. “(The first inning) was huge. We talked about it before the game that it was urgent we put runs on the board early in the game. They are scrappy, and you know if you don’t jump on them early, they’ll take advantage of it.”
By sending 10 batters to the plate in the first, the Demons put the Panthers in a hole and put starter Tim Winders (1-2) at ease.
Winders, making his first appearance since April 5, scattered five hits in five efficient innings, shutting Prairie View A&M out after its first-inning run.
Winders needed just 53 pitches to get through his career-long outing.
“It felt really good,” Winders said. “I haven’t done too well the past couple of weeks. You go out there and keep working. That’s what happens when you have offensive support and a good defense behind you.”
Armed with a big lead, the Demons continued to add on, scoring multiple runs in the second, third and sixth innings.
Northwestern State recorded 11 hits, drew 11 walks and took a pair of hit by pitches en route to posting its highest-scoring game since March 19, 2014 against LSU-Alexandria – a 16-9 Demons win.
Three Demons – Parker, Ricca and David Fry – drove in three runs apiece while Uzzle led the way with three runs scored.
After reliever Avery Williams kept the Demons scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, the Demons used Ricca’s bases-clearing double as the catalyst for a five-run inning.
Following Winders’ solid start, relievers Dan Hlad, Cole Langdon and Brooks Bryan worked four scoreless innings of relief as Northwestern State won its second straight game.
“We came out ready to play,” Barbier said. “It started in batting practice. I thought they were ready during BP today. We talked about it a bunch. It was nice seeing them come out and compete well.”
The Demons continue their six-game homestand at 6:30 p.m. Friday when they host Southland Conference-leading McNeese in the opener of a three-game conference series.
Northwestern State 16, Prairie View A&M 1
PV 100 000 000 – 1 7 3
NSU 622 005 01x – 16 11 0
W – Tim Winders (1-2). L – Jordan Johnson (1-3). 2B – PV, Corbin Jamison. NSU, David Fry, Caleb Ricca 2, Miller Parker. Highlights: PV, Kevin Macias 2-3. NSU, Fry 2-3, 2B, 3 RBIs; Ricca 2-5, 2 2Bs, 3 RBIs; Parker 3-3, 2B, 3 RBIs.
Records: Prairie View 13-27; Northwestern State 12-23.