By: Jason Pugh (NSU Athletic Communications)
NATCHITOCHES, La (KMSS/KTAL) – The Northwestern State baseball team had plenty of opportunities to complete a three-game sweep of Austin Peay on Sunday at Brown-Stroud Field.
The Demons did not cash in on enough of them.
Despite drawing eight walks, Northwestern State scored in just one inning and fell to the Governors, 3-2, in 10 innings, snapping a four-game win streak for the Demons.
“We’ve got to get some guys going offensively, so we’re not always playing those tight games where one or two mistakes, like we made in the 10th, cost us,” fifth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “You can’t overcome them when you don’t put together better at-bats and better innings earlier in the game.”
Despite having runners aboard in eight of the 10 innings, the Demons (5-5) made good in only one of those innings.
Jake Haze started Northwestern State’s two-run third inning, which answered a two-run Austin Peay (2-8) third, with a single and Cameron Parikh followed with a base hit up the middle.
After a wild pitch, Daunte Stuart continued his torrid start to the season, ripping a two-run double to left-center field to tie the game. Stuart finished the weekend series 4-for-8 with a double, two home runs, seven walks and seven RBIs.
“He’s on fire,” Barbier said. “He’s swinging the bat great. If I’m them, I probably don’t pitch to him either. They had some spots where they didn’t have to.
“It’s just the game. We need to get three or four guys going, not like Daunte’s going, and our offense gets a lot better.”
Austin Peay’s bullpen shut the Demons out across the final six innings with Sebastian Martinez (1-1) grabbing the win with 3 1-3 innings of shutout relief.
The group effort by five Governors pitchers stood up against the best start of Demon right-hander Levi David’s career.
With the exception of the third inning when Austin Peay got RBI singles from Garrett Spain and John McDonald, David was stellar, scattering four hits and allowing one earned run in seven innings.
David walked only one hitter and struck out a career-high nine while making the longest start of his career.
“What I like about Levi is he has improved each time out – from Southern Miss to Tarleton to now,” Barbier said. “He can be pretty special on Sundays if he keeps that up.”
Spain, who snapped the scoreless tie with his third-inning single, delivered the game-winning RBI on a 10th-inning sacrifice fly that scored Harrison Brown, who had a leadoff single off Drayton Brown (0-1).
A sacrifice bunt moved Harrison Brown to second before he took third on a Drake Smith wild pitch, setting up Spain’s game winner.
Spain and Harrison Brown each went 2-for-4 for the Governors, who out-hit the Demons 6-5 in a game that featured only one extra-base hit – Stuart’s double.
The Demons return to action Friday when they host Incarnate Word at 6:30 p.m. in the opener of a four-game Southland Conference series.