JACKSON, Miss. – The Northwestern State softball team is preparing to kick off its busiest week of the season Wednesday when the Lady Demons head to Jackson State (6-7) for a doubleheader.
NSU (8-5) will stay on the road, heading north to Memphis for five games in the Blues City Classic this weekend, totaling seven games in a five-day span.
“We’ll travel on Wednesday and play the doubleheader in the same day, so that’s a challenge with the bus ride and playing two games,” said NSU coach Donald Pickett. “We’ll make sure we’re ready to play, and we’ll have to take it one pitch at a time all week.”
The Lady Demons are coming off their best weekend of the season with a 4-1 mark at the Youngsville Mardi Gras Mambo tournament.
The bats continued to pick up steam most of the weekend, complementing what’s been solid pitching performances all season.
Not including a 2-1 loss to Middle Tennessee, NSU averaged 7.5 runs in its four wins this past weekend. The Lady Demons bludgeoned Houston Baptist 6-1, Detroit Mercy 7-4, Jacksonville State 9-1 and Mississippi Valley State 8-0 (six innings).
NSU is 3-0 against Southwestern Athletic Conference teams this season and will attempt to add to that number Wednesday. The Lady Demons have won 28 of the last 29 games against SWAC members, including eight straight against Jackson State.
Senior Elise Vincent cranked up her offensive performance in the leadoff spot this past weekend with an 8-of-16 effort with six runs scored, three RBIs and four walks.
Vincent entered the weekend batting under .240, but she boosted her season average to .351 with the productive tournament.
Vincent joins her other two fellow outfielders at the top of NSU’s batting average charts. Hayley Barbazon continued her hot streak (7-15 with four RBIs) to keep her season average above .500 (.515) with a team-high 14 RBIs out of the No. 9 hole.
Senior Kaitlyn St. Clair, who’s hit primarily in the No. 6 and No. 7 slots, is batting .368 with nine runs scored this season.
Freshman first baseman Kat Marshall had a career weekend in which she drove in seven runs on 5-18 hitting. All 11 of Marshall’s RBIs have come in the last seven games.
“She’s had some big hits for us, and she’s gaining confidence with better approaches at the plate,” Pickett said. “She’s a big RBI producer that brings power to our lineup.”
NSU’s arms continued its solid outings as the team allowed just eight runs in five games with six of those earned.
Junior transfer Jensen Howell (4-2) led the way with two wins, allowing one run each to Houston Baptist and Jacksonville State. She lowered her season ERA to 1.41.
Senior Samantha Guile (2-0, 1.17 ERA) shut out Mississippi Valley State for her second complete-game shutout of her career.
Junior E.C. Delafield picked up her first win of the season in the 7-4 win against Detroit Mercy. The All-Southland Conference selection has battled the flu throughout the first couple weeks of the season, but she made a full return this past weekend.
The Lady Demons staff ERA is 2.25 with Guile and Howell each posting sub-1.50 ERAs.
CUTLINE: NSU sophomore catcher Alexis Perry has been a key cog at the middle of the Lady Demons’ lineup this season.
CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services