State Remains Perfect With 6-4 Triumph Over Demons
The Diamond Dawgs made the most of seven hits to improve to 5-0 on their season-opening 14-game homestand. Northwestern State fell to 2-2 with the defeat.
MSU struck first with a pair of runs in the fourth inning. The Demons tied the contest with a pair of scores in the fifth inning. An RBI-double by Jonathan Ogden gave the Maroon and White the lead for good in the home half of the sixth inning.
The Bulldogs struck for three scores in the seventh inning and held off one last Demons' rally in the top half of the eighth inning.
"We had some timely hits today," said MSU catcher Cody Freeman, who had his second three-hit game of the young campaign. "We used small ball to our advantage. Defensively, we made some great plays."
Perhaps, no defensive play was bigger than a diving catch of a line drive by MSU right fielder Brent Brownlee. That play resulted in a sacrifice fly for the batter, Collin Bear. However, it provided the spark needed to work MSU out of further damage in the NSU eighth inning of play.
The Bulldogs broke open a scoreless tie with a pair of scores in the fourth inning. After a pair of walks started things, Freeman loaded the bases with a bunt single. A fielder's choice ground ball hit by C.T. Bradford plated the first run. The Bulldogs again used the bunting game when Ogden connected and NSU failed to get the out at the plate.
The Demons answered right back in their half of the fifth inning. Justin Martinez led the inning off with a double. Will Watson followed with a line drive single. A sacrifice-fly by Ray Frias plated one run and a ground out by Aaron Munoz scored the other.
The fifth inning would be the end of the day for MSU starter Kendall Graveman. A sophomore right-hander, Graveman allowed four hits and two runs (both earned), with three strikeouts in five innings of work.
"We had a sophomore out there hitting his spots today," said Freeman. "He had good control of all four of his pitches. He was filling the zone with strikes. Our pitching has been a bright spot this season. It is a matter of getting the offense to go along with that."
The big MSU seventh inning involved three different hit batters by the NSU relief corps. The big blow was a two-run double by Bradford.
Jarrod Parks also had multiple hits for the Bulldogs. Bradford drove in three runs for the Maroon and White.
Andrew Busby (1-0) worked 2.1 innings, allowing three hits and two runs (both earned) to record the win. Luis Pollorena worked MSU out of the eighth inning, before giving way to Caleb Reed, who notched his second save.
Ryan Keele and Watson each had two hits apiece for Northwestern State, which totaled seven hits in the contest. Starting pitcher Jacob Williford (0-1) lasted six innings and took the loss.
The Bulldogs host Belmont this weekend. Game times are 4 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.