Box Score RUSTON – The Northwestern State baseball team enjoyed a fast start and a solid ending Wednesday night.
The in between was costly for the Demons, however.
Homestanding Louisiana Tech withstood Broch Holmes’ first career home run – a three-run, first-inning shot – and held off a ninth-inning Demon rally to pick up a 6-4 non-conference win at JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
“We had the big homer from Broch, who’s been hurt for about the last six weeks, that got us on the board and got us going,” sixth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “Then we went quiet for a while. Their guy (Jarrett Whorff) did a good job, but I think we needed to put a little more pressure on them to make some mistakes.”
Holmes ‘blast to left-center field off Whorff (4-5) with two outs in the first came after the lone walk issued by three Bulldogs’ pitchers and gave the Demons (17-19) the early momentum.
It stood as Northwestern State’s only score until the ninth inning as Whorff and relievers Ryan Harland (four scoreless innings) and Kyle Crigger combined to strike out seven demons and scatter three hits in the final six innings.
That relief work allowed the Bulldogs (27-11) to chip away at NSU’s early lead.
The Bulldogs scored in each of the first four innings, taking the lead for good with a two-run third inning against Chase Prestwich (0-3). While the Bulldogs managed just six singles in the game, Louisiana Tech took advantage of five walks and a pair of hit batters by Demon pitchers.
Three of Louisiana Tech’s runs began their lives as either walks or hit batters.
Following the offensive-minded start to the game, both bullpens locked down after the fourth inning.
The Northwestern State Quartet of Donovan Ohnoutka, Dawson Flowers, Alex Makarewich and Josh Banes retired the final 11 Louisiana Tech hitters they faced and 12 of the final 13. The Bulldogs’ last hit was Cole McConnell’s RBI single in the fourth inning to put Louisiana Tech ahead 6-3.
“We had some good moments, especially in the back end of that bullpen,” Barbier said. “Guys came out who have been struggling or maybe haven’t pitched in a while and pitched well. Hopefully, we can carry that part over into the weekend.”
After Gray Rowlett’s leadoff single in the fifth, Harland and Crigger allowed just two singles the rest of the game.
One of those – Jeffrey Elkins’ line drive single off Crigger’s leg – helped the Demons load the bases with no outs in the ninth. However, Crigger got a run-scoring double-play ball and a strikeout to nullify the NSU threat.
Rowlett (2-for-5), Elkins (2-for-4) and Gabe Colaianni (2-for-4) had six of Northwestern State’s eight hits. It was Rowlett’s third straight multi-hit game and the second in two nights for Elkins.
Rowlett’s hot streak came after he was out of the lineup for a 10-game stretch from March 22-April 9.
“It’s not as easy as just going back out there,” Barbier said. “It took Gray a little while to get back into the swing of things. He hadn’t seen pitches in a while. Same thing with Broch. It’s going to take them a little while to get back into it.”
The Demons return to action Friday when they host Houston Baptist in the opener of a three-game Southland Conference series. First pitch is set for 6:30 pm at Brown-Stroud Field.
Louisiana Tech 6, Northwestern State 4
NSU 300 000 001 – 4 8 1
LT 112 200 00x – 6 6 0
W – Jarrett Whorff (4-5). L – Chase Prestwich (0-3). S – Kyle Crigger (7). 2B – NSU, Jeffrey Elkins. HR – NSU, Broch Holmes (1). Highlights: NSU, Gray Rowlett 2-5; Gabe Colaianni 2-5; Jeffrey Elkins 2-4, 2B. LT, Cole McConnell 2-4, RBI.
Records: Northwestern State 17-19, Louisiana Tech 26-11.