The Northwestern State baseball team entered Tuesday having lost nine straight games and having won only two games during Southland Conference play.
On this night, however, the Demons could do little wrong.
Northwestern surged to an early two-run lead against Southern at Lee-Hines Field and never trailed in a 9-5 victory. The Demons finished with 13 hits and committed only one error.
“This is what we’re capable of doing,” first-year Northwestern coach Lane Burroughs said. “We’ve known that all year, and for whatever reason, it just hasn’t gone in our favor.”
Southern, which wrapped up its Southwestern Athletic Conference Western Division schedule over the weekend, will look to get back on track when the Jaguars (19-19) complete the two-game series against Northwestern (12-33) at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Camilo Godoy took the loss in his latest midweek start, giving up five runs (three earned) in four innings.
Northwestern took its 2-0 lead in the second when Garrett Kilgore delivered a sacrifice fly and Matt Burns followed with an RBI single.
Southern battled back over the next two innings, scoring its first run on an RBI single by Jose De La Torre and the other on a throwing error by Northwestern starter Ahston Sivigliano.
But Northwestern broke loose for three runs in the fifth and added four more in the eighth.
“We just had those two bad innings where we couldn’t execute,” Southern coach Roger Cador said.
Burroughs took no chances when it came to snapping the nine-game losing streak.
He finished the game with relievers Steven Spann and Cameron Brewer, whose work is usually reserved for weekend action during conference play. Spann gave up a long homer to right by Gavin Webster before giving way to Brewer, who held Southern hitless over the final two innings and earned his fourth save.
“We felt like we had a chance to get the win and went for it,” Burroughs said. “We went for the neck.”
Northwestern, which had been swept in its past two Southland series, won for the first time since beating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on April 12.
“This is how I envisioned our team all year, and it just hadn’t happened,” Burroughs said. “Maybe we get hot here at the end of the year.”
None of the nine Northwestern runs was scored by the same player. Eight of the Demons’ nine starters had at least one hit.
Edwin Gomez went 3-for-5 with a double. Burns was 3-for-4 with two RBIs out of the nine hole, but Cador said he was even more impressed by the shortstop’s defensive efforts.
“He’s a heck of a player. He took away five hits from us tonight,” Cador said of Burns.
Tyler Kirksey had a nice night at the plate for Southern, going 2-for-5 with a triple and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Brian Rowry was 2-for-5 with a double and De La Torre finished 2-for-4.
The homer by Webster was the second for the sophomore outfielder in as many games.