NACOGDOCHES, Texas – A three-run second inning by the Northwestern State Demons proved to be all they would need on Friday in taking a 4-2 win in the opener of a three-game series at Jaycees Field.
The Demons (14-3, 3-1 Southland) took advantage of a pair of walks in the second frame and got an RBI double from Adam Roy, an RBI groundout from Aaron Munoz and a run-scoring bunt single form Eric DeBlanc to jump out to a 3-0 lead, which was plenty of cushion for the Demon pitching staff.
Junior righty Luke Irvine was outstanding for Northwestern in earning his third win of the year, striking out eight hitters without a walk in just six innings of work. He allowed just one unearned run and four hits. Chad Sheppard allowed a run in the ninth, but still managed to hold on for his league-leading sixth save of the season.
Tyler Herriage took his first loss of the season for SFA (12-5, 3-1 Southland), scattering eight hits over seven innings with a strikeout and three walks.
The loss snapped a five-game win streak for the ‘Jacks, while the Demons stayed hot in winning for the 14th time in 15 tries.
Irvine set the ‘Jacks down in order through the first three innings before Garrett Smith picked up the first of his two singles on the day, but it was not until the fifth that SFA could crack the scoreboard. Jarid Scarfiotti led off with the first of his two singles on the day as well and Bo Coffman traded places with him one hitter later before Ryan Priest gave SFA a golden scoring opportunity with a double down the left-field line to put runners on second and third with just one out. But Irvine responded with a strikeout of Patrick Gratzke before Demon catcher Aaron Munoz let a pitch go off his glove for a passed ball with Michael Haynes at the plate that allowed Coffman to score the first SFA run.
From there it was not until the ninth that either team could get a run across as Herriage kept the Demons off the scoreboard through the seventh before giving way to Cory Ochs, who easily got through the eighth before finally surrendering his first earned run of the season on a two-out single to Chase Lyles in the top of the ninth to give Northwestern a 4-1 edge.
Sheppard then came on in a save situation in the ninth, but had to work his way through some trouble as the ‘Jacks got the tying run to the plate twice in the inning. But all SFA could muster was a sacrifice fly from Coffman to cut it to 4-2 before Lyles made a nice play in foul territory to retire Priest for the game's final out.
The second game of the series is set to get going at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday; however, inclement weather that is expected in the area could push the game time up. Game officials are expected to make a decision on a game time on Saturday morning and updates will be provided on www.sfajacks.com.
Junior Jared West is the scheduled starter for SFA while Northwestern is slated to throw senior righty Heath Hennigan.