The game was moved up to a 10 a.m. start due to the threat of rain as the Demons improved their to 5-10 on the season and 2-1 in conference play while McNeese fell to 4-11 and 1-2.
“We knew the situation going in with the weather and felt like we had to get out to a quick start because it could’ve been just a five or six inning game,” said head coach J.P. Davis. “We did a really good job of getting a run in the first and then adding another.”
The Demons led 2-0 through three innings but McNeese would tie it in the fourth when Seth Granger popped a two-run shot over the right field wall in the fourth inning to knot the game up.
“Granger is their (McNeese’s) best guy and we got down in the count by not wanting to give him anything,” said Davis. “We throw a fastball belt high and that’s what that guy does. He’s a good hitter and hits mistakes.”
The Demons landed three of their first four batters on base in the bottom of the sixth when Bear, who pitched a gem on Saturday with eight scoreless inning and allowed just one hit, stepped up to the plate and knocked a full count pitch up the middle to score Nick Hinojos and Nick Doughty to make it 4-2.
Ray Frias followed with a two-out, RBI single through the left side that scored Kevin Sanford who pinch ran for Bear, and gave the Demons a 5-2 lead.
“Our guys did a great job of not allowing that tying home run to get them tight,” said Davis. “We put up that three-spot in the sixth. Obviously, Bear with the big blow pinch hit. I felt like it was a really good matchup. Their guy has a good arm. Bear got ahead in the count and then their guy evened it, and with a 3-2 count, Bear got a really good swing on the pitch. And that really was the difference in the ball game.”
Jacob Williford started the game on the mound of the Demons and threw four innings and gave up two runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout. Mason Melotakis came in to hurl the remaining five frames to get the win and gave up one run on five hits, struck out four and walked none while moving his record to 1-1 on the season.
“I told Melotakis yesterday (Saturday) he was going to be the first guy out of the pen. Even though Willy (Williford) gave up that two spot, it was very important he got us at least four innings. We wanted five but we needed four. Melo came in and did a nice job in an extended outing for him. He did a really good job of pounding the zone with the fastball.”
McNeese starting pitcher Jacob Williams was lifted with one out in the second inning after he rolled his ankle on a pick off attempt to first base. That started a barrage of five more Cowboy pitchers the rest of the game.
Michael Clemens, who closed out the win for the Cowboys in Saturday’s doubleheader nightcap, took the loss after he allowed three runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout in 2.1 innings pitched.
Offensively, the Demons pounded out eight hits with Frias going 2-for-4 with a RBI and run scored to lead the way. Ryan Westbrook knocked in two runs on a 1-for-4 game and Bear finished 1-for-1 with two RBI.
The Demons also did a nice job in the field with some spectacular infield grabs.
“To me, that was the big story of the game,” said Davis of his team’s defense.
NSU will return to action on Wednesday when it visits nationally ranked LSU.
That game will be the first of the season to be broadcast on the Demon Sports Network.