NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State baseball team staged a comeback Wednesday night, but No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette was able to hold of the Demons in a 5-3 loss at Brown-Stroud Field in the home opener for NSU in non-conference action.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (4-1) jumped out to a four-run lead by the fifth inning. Three runs came in the Cajun third inning on three straight run-scoring hits. Jace Conrad singled to left field to scored Blake Trahan, Ryan Leonards singled to the right-centerfield gap to score Conrad, and Leonards scored on a double to left field from Ryan Wilson. Leonards scored again in the fifth inning on a single to the left-centerfield gap form Evan Powell.
Northwestern State (1-3) answered with a three-run inning in the bottom of the fifth inning that started when Edwin Gomez reached on a single up the middle and Matt Alford was hit by a pitch to put a man on first and second with no outs. NSU was hit by a pitch six times in the game, which pushed its total on the season to 17 in only four games played.
“We had three hit-by-pitches in the fifth inning and it got us a big inning,” said second-year head coach Lane Burroughs.
“I thought our guys played hard, aggressive, and loose. We played a really good team,” he said. “I’m not into moral victories, but if we play like that we’ll be okay."
Two batters after Alford was hit, Joel Atkinson was hit by a pitch that loaded the bases with one man out. Three-hole hitter Chase Daughdrill followed with a two-run single to left field that scored Gomez and Alford before Joel Atkinson was thrown out at the plate trying to make it three.
“We have some pieces missing, and now Atkinson has to sit out a game,” said Burroughs. “Our guys grinded and played hard.”
Atkinson was thrown out of the game after the play at the plate.
After the play at the plate, Caleb Dugas was hit by a pitch to put a man at first and second and two outs. ULL replaced Matt Plitt, the Cajun starter, with Riley Cooper who gave up a hit to Regan Kaufman to scored Daughdrill. C.J. Webster hit a dribbler deep to the second base hole that Conrad was able to get to and end the inning.
The Cajuns added an insurance run in the eighth inning on a home run from Powell that hit the left field foul pole.
Northwestern State threated in the sixth inning when Nathan Lyons was walked, but was caught stealing right before Alford was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. C.J. Webster was hit for a second time and followed by a walk to Gomez, but back-to-back flyouts led the Cajuns out of the inning.
Austin Tanner (0-1) took the loss on three innings pitched with five hits allowed. He gave up the three-run third inning, but pitched a perfect first inning and only faced four batters in the second inning.
Evan Tidwell pitched one inning and gave up two hits and Brandon Smith pitched two innings and allowed one run on two hits with two strikeouts. Josh Morris, Adam Oller, and Cameron Brewer pitched the final three innings. Oller gave up the homer to Powell.
Chase Daughdrill, Caleb Dugas, and Regan Kaufman (NSU’s three, four, and five hitters) all had a hit in the game. Daughdrill had two RBIs and a walk.
NSU will travel to Texas-Pan American to participate in the Al Ogletree Classic. It will face Texas-Pan American and Prairie View A&M on Friday and wrap-up with UTPA on Saturday.