Johnson allowed two runs on 10 hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts to run his record to 1-1 on the season while NSU starter Colin Bear (0-2) lasted just five innings and gave up three runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out five.
“The difference in the game was the starting pitching,” said head coach J.P. Davis whose team fell to 2-8 on the season and suffered its fourth straight loss. “Their starter throws 115, 120, 125 pitches over eight innings and ours throws 107 over five innings. That’s the difference.”
Unlike Friday night’s 8-3 loss, the Demons were able to jump out early with a 1-0 lead through four innings after Will Watson singled up the middle, stole second, moved to third on a single by Shaun Hoover, and scored when Bear hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
Missouri State (8-3) took the lead for good in the fifth inning when it scored three runs, all with two outs, behind a walk, double, and triple all in order.
“Once again, we give up a three-spot with two outs,” said Davis. “We have to beard down. We have a senior on the mound who has good stuff.
Offensively, runs are going to be at a premium. We’re facing a guy who is going to be an early round pick. But on the flip side, we had that guy in some situations and we let him off the hook.”
The Demons had a great opportunity in the sixth inning when Nick Purdy led off the inning with a single and Nick Doughty hit a pinch-hit, one-out double to move Purdy to third. After a strike out for the second out in the inning, Watson got an infield single to score Purdy to cut the lead to 3-2 but Drew Helenihi struck out to end the rally.
NSU, who finished with three hits on Friday, put 11 on the board on Saturday with Watson going 3-for-4 and Purdy 2-for-4 to lead the way. MSU got two hits each from Spiker Helms, Brent Seifert and Keenen Maddox.
The Demons will attempt to get one game out of the series on Sunday when the two teams play the finale at 1.