Softball — Northwestern State secures series win by splitting DH with Southeastern

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HAMMOND — Freshman Hayley Barbazon impressed with her bat in Friday’s win, but it was her arm that was called upon Saturday.

Barbazon slowed Southeastern’s momentum in the fifth inning and finished the 6-4 win with a three-inning save.

Southeastern (20-22, 9-9 Southland Conference) avoided the sweep in Saturday’s second game with an 8-0 victory against NSU (18-25-1, 8-10 SLC), staying ahead of the Lady Demons in the league standings.

NSU 6, SLU 4

Entering the game with a 6-3 lead and one runner on in the fifth inning, Barbazon allowed one hit and worked around three free bases to secure the series win.

Barbazon, who recorded her first career save, hit a batter before Southeastern scored on a fielding error to cut the lead to 6-4.

The Belle Chasse native walked a batter to load the bases, but Barbazon induced a fly ball to end the Lady Lions’ final threat.

Starter Katelyn Boles (5-11) earned the win with four runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks.

Barbazon helped at the plate as well, going 2-for-3 with an RBI to total five hits and five RBIs in the series.

Her RBI single in the first inning was part of a four-run frame, which is the most for the Lady Demons in conference play and ties a season high (St. Louis, Feb. 25).

The first of Southeastern’s three errors aided the inning by putting Hailee Rhodes on base.

Kellye Kincannon ripped her fourth triple of the season before being thrown out at the plate on a wild pitch.

But Southeastern pitcher Lacey Hill (8-8) walked Jordan Rains before Brittney Jones crushed an RBI triple for a 2-0 lead.

Barbazon and Emma Hawthorne supplied RBI singles as three of NSU’s runs came with two outs and all four were unearned.

NSU added runs in the third and fourth innings on a Julie Rawls sacrifice fly and a Micayla Sorosiak RBI double, respectively, to lead 6-0.

“It was huge to get two wins on the road, granted the last game didn’t go as planned,” said Sorosiak, whose 11th double this season tied Kincannon for the SLC lead. “This offense can do some real damage one through nine.

“I’m focusing on this team and doing this for them. I’m taking some extra cuts before and after practice. I’m trying to make this a great last season for all of us.”

Southeastern manufactured three runs in the fourth inning to slice NSU’s lead in half, 6-3. The Lady Lions mustered two hits and two walks, scoring on a pair of ground outs and a Maddie Edmonston RBI double.

But Boles stranded a runner on second base an inning before Barbazon left the bases loaded — four of the eight Lady Lions stranded.

SLU 8, NSU 0 (6)

Southeastern pitcher Rachel Hayes tossed a one-hitter in Saturday’s second game as Northwestern State couldn’t complete the sweep in a six-inning loss.

Leadoff hitter Sidney Salmans singled to start the game before Hayes recorded 18 straight outs.

Hayes (7-6) struck out three in the win.

The Lady Lions plated three first-inning runs and never looked back. Kinsey Nichols doubled in a run before scoring on a Mahalia Gibson single. Gibson scored on a Mikayla Brown wild pitch.

Brown (10-11), who earned Friday’s win, allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits and three walks in five innings.

Before Saturday’s loss, Brown had won eight of her last nine decisions.

After the loss, NSU is tied for seventh among SLC Tournament eligible teams with three series remaining.

Six teams make the SLC Tournament, but NSU is just one game back of fifth-place Southeastern with Sam Houston State (8-9 SLC), Stephen F. Austin (7-8 SLC) and Central Arkansas (8-10 SLC) in between.

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