Demons announce home-heavy 2020 schedule

NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State baseball team will have ample opportunities to showcase the improvements made to Brown-Stroud Field in 2020.


The Demons on Thursday announced their home-heavy 2020 season schedule, a slate that includes 35 home game, including an eight-game homestand to open the season.


“I’m sure (playing at home) helps, but hopefully the circumstances of where we play don’t affect us too much,” said head coach Bobby Barbier, who begins his fourth season in charge of his alma mater. “I’m just happy our fans get to enjoy our new stadium and a chance to meet our fairly new team.”


For the third time in Barbier’s four seasons, the Demons begin the season at home, hosting Wichita State in a three-game series Feb. 14-16. The series with the Shockers opens an eight-game, season-opening homestand, which includes a visit from ULM (Feb. 18) and a four-game series against North Alabama (Feb. 21-23).


That run is the first of four straight weekends at home as Northwestern State plays 14 of its first 16 games at Brown-Stroud Field. In all, Northwestern State will play nine weekend series at home. In addition to welcoming the Shockers to Natchitoches, NSU hosts Eastern Illinois (Feb. 28-March 1), Mercer (May 13, 15) and Houston (May 14) in weekend action.


Mercer is one of four NSU opponents who reached the 2019 NCAA Regionals, joining LSU (April 28 in Baton Rouge), Southern (March 3 in Baton Rouge, April 15 in Natchitoches) and McNeese (April 17-19 in Lake Charles) on the Demons’ 56-game schedule.


The pairing of Mercer and Houston on the season’s final weekend was necessitated by a shift in the Southland Conference schedule that moved Northwestern State’s open weekend in conference play to the end of the season.


“We are very fortunate to have those guys in Natchitoches this year,” Barbier said. “Scheduling can be difficult sometimes, and it’s nice when it works out to get some programs with great tradition on your home field. We are lucky to have (the final weekend) filled with two quality opponents in a tournament setting to prepare us for postseason play.”


In addition to the April 17-19 matchup at McNeese, the Demons have Southland Conference road trips set for New Orleans (March 13-15), Lamar (March 20-22), Nicholls (April 3-5) and Incarnate Word (May 1-3).


Northwestern State’s 15 home Southland Conference games come against Abilene Christian (March 6-8), Houston Baptist (March 27-29), Southeastern Louisiana (April 9-11), Stephen F. Austin (April 24-26) and SLC regular-season champion Sam Houston State (May 8-10). The Southland Conference Tournament is set for May 20-23.


“Our brand of baseball in the Southland is tremendous,” Barbier said. “You have to come ready to play every day or you will get beat. I am sure this year will be just like years past in our league.”


Northwestern State has home-and-home midweek series with state rivals ULM (Feb. 18 in Natchitoches, April 21 in Monroe), Southern (March 3 in Baton Rouge, April 15 in Natchitoches), Grambling (March 10 in Grambling, April 7 in Natchitoches), and Louisiana Tech (March 17 in Natchitoches, April 14 in Ruston).


The Demons host LSU-Alexandria on March 25 and Mississippi Valley State (March 31-April 1) in their other home mid-week games and will travel to UL Lafayette (Feb. 26) and LSU in road mid-week action.


2020 Northwestern State Baseball Schedule

Date      Opponent           Location

Feb. 14  Wichita State     Natchitoches

Feb. 15  Wichita State     Natchitoches

Feb. 16  Wichita State     Natchitoches

Feb. 18  ULM                    Natchitoches

Feb. 21  North Alabama  Natchitoches

Feb. 22  North Alabama (DH)       Natchitoches

Feb. 23  North Alabama  Natchitoches

Feb. 26  UL Lafayette      Lafayette

Feb. 28  Eastern Illinois   Natchitoches

Feb. 29  Eastern Illinois   Natchitoches

March 1                Eastern Illinois   Natchitoches

March 3                Southern             Baton Rouge

March 6                Abilene Christian*           Natchitoches

March 7                Abilene Christian*           Natchitoches

March 8                Abilene Christian*           Natchitoches

March 10             Grambling           Grambling

March 13             New Orleans*   New Orleans

March 14             New Orleans*   New Orleans

March 15             New Orleans*   New Orleans

March 17             Louisiana Tech   Natchitoches

March 20             Lamar* Beaumont, Texas

March 21             Lamar* Beaumont, Texas

March 22             Lamar* Beaumont, Texas

March 25             LSU-Alexandria Natchitoches

March 27             Houston Baptist*             Natchitoches

March 28             Houston Baptist*             Natchitoches

March 29             Houston Baptist*             Natchitoches

March 31             Mississippi Valley State  Natchitoches

April 1   Mississippi Valley State  Natchitoches

April 3   Nicholls*              Thibodaux

April 4   Nicholls*              Thibodaux

April 5   Nicholls*              Thibodaux

April 7   Grambling           Natchitoches

April 9   Southeastern Louisiana*             Natchitoches

April 10 Southeastern Louisiana*             Natchitoches

April 11 Southeastern Louisiana*              Natchitoches

April 14 Louisiana Tech   Ruston

April 15 Southern             Natchitoches

April 17 McNeese*          Lake Charles

April 18 McNeese*          Lake Charles

April 19 McNeese*          Lake Charles

April 21 ULM                   Monroe

April 24 Stephen F. Austin*         Natchitoches

April 25 Stephen F. Austin*         Natchitoches

April 26 Stephen F. Austin*         Natchitoches

April 28 LSU                                    Baton Rouge

May 1    Incarnate Word*              San Antonio

May 2    Incarnate Word*             San Antonio

May 3    Incarnate Word*             San Antonio

May 8    Sam Houston State*       Natchitoches

May 9    Sam Houston State*       Natchitoches

May 10  Sam Houston State*       Natchitoches

May 13  Mercer                                Natchitoches

May 14  Houston                             Natchitoches

May 15  Mercer                                Natchitoches

May 20-23   Southland Conference Tournament    TBA

*-Denotes Southland Conference game