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Demons baseball team host Texas State in ‘must win’ situation
May 17, 2012 | 288 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State’s postseason life rests on how the Demons do against Texas State when they open up a three-game Southland Conference baseball series beginning Thursday at 6:30 at Brown-Stroud Field.

The series, which will be carried live on the Demon Sports Network, will continue with a 6:30 game on Friday followed by a 1 o’clock game on Saturday. Seven seniors will be recognized during a pregame ceremony prior to the first pitch on Saturday.

The Demons (18-30, 13-17 SLC) are currently in ninth place in the league standings, one game behind Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for the seventh and eighth spot in the league tournament. Only eight teams qualify for the slate that will be played May 23-26 at Texas State.

Stephen F. Austin hosts Nicholls State while Corpus will be playing at Texas-Arlington in other games that could have implications on NSU’s postseason hopes.

Texas State (29-21, 17-13) is in sole possession of third place in the standings but trail Southeastern Louisiana by one game. Sam Houston State (34-17, 22-8) locked up the regular season title after taking two games from SLU last weekend.

On Thursday, the Demons will turn to hard throwing junior LHP Mason Melotakis who will likely be making his final appearance on the mound at Brown-Stroud Field. Melo (3-4, 3.72 ERA) was recently listed as the No. 9 left-handed pitcher and 89th draft prospect overall by Baseball America.

Senior lefty Colin Bear (3-7, 4.70) will make the start on Friday while a pitcher yet to be announced for Saturday’s finale. Bear is also hitting .268 with a home run and 25 RBI – second most on the team.

Another pitcher who will be honored on Saturday will be Joe Scanio, who became the school’s single-season record holder with his 29th appearance last week at Nicholls State. Scanio (5-3, 2.54) notched his 11th career win in Sunday’s first game of a doubleheader at Nicholls and is ranked tied for 10th on the NSU career list for victories.

Other seniors playing in their final games at Brown-Stroud Field will be Drew Helenihi, Nick Hinojos, Jordan Buckley, Ray Frias and Ryan Westbrook. Westbrook is listed as a junior but recently received his degree.

Helenihi ranks second on the team in batting with a .319 average and is third with 18 stolen bases. He trails Will Watson who tops the team with a .333 mark and tied for first with 21 swipes.

As a team, the Demons are hitting .260 and are second in the conference with 81 stolen bases.

Texas State will come into the series hitting .254 as a unit but leads the league in pitching with a team ERA of 2.89, ranking 10th in the nation.

The Bobcats have only one player hitting better than .300 and that is Jeff McVaney who is at .318 to go along with team highs in home runs (8) and runs batted in (36).

On the mound, Texas State possesses two pitchers who rank in the top 100 in the country in ERA – Colton Turner and Travis Ballew. Ballew, a righty, will start on Thursday night in what will be one of the premiere pitching face-offs in the country. He’ll enter the game 10-3 on the season with a 2.49 ERA and has 107 strikeouts in 90.1 innings pitched.

LHP Colton Turner (5-2, 1.93) will start on Friday while RHP Kyle Finnegan (5-6, 3.43) will get the nod on Saturday.

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