NORMAN, Oklahoma – After losing two large leads in the past two weekends, Northwestern State tried to flip the script Sunday in its finale at the Oklahoma Courtyard Marriott Tournament.
The Lady Demons erased a six-run deficit to tie the game before Evansville’s Brittany Hay hit a solo home run in the first at-bat of the bottom of the seventh inning as NSU fell 8-7.
NSU (9-11-1) went 2-3 on the weekend, earning the No. 2 seed in the four-team tournament with wins over Western Kentucky and Evansville before losing to WKU and Evansville (5-9) once bracket play started Saturday afternoon. The Lady Demons also battled No. 9 Oklahoma in a 3-0 loss with the Sooners leading just 1-0 in the sixth inning.
On Sunday, freshman Hayley Barbazon (2-1) pitched three relief innings and quieted an Evansville offense that had scored five runs in the first three innings.
Evansville stretched its lead to 7-1 in the fourth inning, Barbazon’s first, on a Susan Norris two-RBI double.
But Barbazon held the Purple Aces scoreless the next two innings as NSU made its comeback.
The Lady Demons scored five runs in the sixth inning to trim Evansville’s lead to 7-6. A two-RBI double by Kaylee Isenburg and an Emma Hawthorne three-run home run plated NSU’s runs. Hawthorne has three home runs and 11 RBIs this season.
Freshman Julie Rawls (2-for-4, RBI) singled, Brittney Jones doubled and Micayla Sorosiak (2-for-3) walked to load the bases in front of Isenburg. Isenburg and Sorosiak scored on Hawthorne’s home run.
Rawls tied the game in the top of the seventh with her first career home run, smashing a ball over the center field fence off reliever Ashleigh Downing.
Sophomore starting pitcher Mikayla Brown allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks in three innings.
Barbazon allowed three runs on five hits in the loss.
Evansville reliever Samantha Fleming (1-0) earned the win with 2-3 of a scoreless inning.
The Purple Aces scored three runs in the first two innings on a McKenzie Johnson RBI single and RBI singles by Chandra Parr and Morgan Florey. Evansville left the bases loaded in each inning and stranded seven total runners.
NSU answered when Toni Hebert scored on one of two errors to slice Evansville’s lead to 3-1.
The Purple Aces scored two runs with the help of two NSU errors in the third inning for a 5-1 advantage.
Northwestern State opens its home season Wednesday when No. 24 Baylor visits Lady Demon Diamond for a 5 p.m. doubleheader.