Baseball — Demons drop finale, split series at Sam Houston


HUNTSVILLE, Texas – For the first time in eight Southland Conference games, the Northwestern State baseball team did not lead in a league game Sunday.


Sam Houston jumped to an early lead against the Demons and used that edge to double up Northwestern State, 6-3, and earn a split of the four-game series at Don Sanders Stadium.


Preseason All-American Colton Cowser homered twice, including a three-run shot in the first inning, as Sam Houston (5-12, 2-6) started fast and dealt the Demons (9-9, 4-4) their first multi-run loss of conference play.


“The two left-handed hitters (Cowser and Jack Rogers) are pretty special,” fifth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We kept them at bay a little bit for the first few games. They hurt us a little bit today. It got us behind. Micah (Berens) came in and settled down the game for us.”


Cowser’s first-inning home run off Reed Michel (0-2) came after Easton Loyd’s leadoff double and a hit by pitch of Rogers.


After the first, Michel and Berens kept the Bearkats off the scoreboard until the Demons could solve left-hander Kyle Backhus, which happened in the fifth.


Jacob Farrell reached on an error and Larson Fontenot and Jake Haze each drew walks to load the bases with one out and end Backhus’ day.


Daunte Stuart welcomed reliever Coltin Atkinson (1-1) with an RBI infield single before Atkinson wild pitched Fontenot home. That shakiness was about the only time the Demons got to Atkinson, a freshman right-hander.


Even after slicing the lead to one, the Demons could not sustain the momentum as Rogers homered to lead off the bottom of the fifth and Cowser came around to score after being hit a pitch.


“This game’s funny,” Barbier said. “It will knock you down when it’s not going good. It’s one of those things where you have to keep fighting through it. This game rewards the fighters. It rewards the people who push through these tough times.”


Tyler Smith brought the Demons within two with his first home run of the season – a solo blast to right field in the sixth inning off Atkinson, who worked 3 2-3 innings to earn his first win of the season. It was Smith’s 21st career home run, which ties him with Jordan Robison for 10th place in school history.


Cowser answered with his second home run of the game in the seventh to cap the scoring.


Cowser and Rogers combined to go 4-for-7 with three home runs, five runs scored and five RBIs.


The Demons return to action Friday when they host South Alabama in the opener of a three-game, non-conference series. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Brown-Stroud Field.


Sam Houston 6, Northwestern State 3 

NSU       000 021 000 – 3 3 2 

SH          300 020 10x – 6 9 3 

W – Coltin Atkinson (1-1). L – Reed Michel (0-2). S – Lance Lusk (1). 2B – SH, Easton Loyd, Jack Rogers. 3B – SH, Bryce Holmes. HR – NSU, Tyler Smith (1). SH, Jack Rogers (3), Colton Cowser 2 (4). Highlights: SH, Rogers 2-3, 2B, HR, RBI; Cowser 2-3, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs.

Records: Northwestern State 9-9, 4-4; Sam Houston 5-12, 2-6.