NATCHITOCHES - For the fourth time in Northwestern State's four losses, a big inning proved to be too is much for the Demons to overcome as they fell 7-4 to Southern on Sunday afternoon and dropping the baseball series to the Jaguars.
The Demons (2-4) surrendered a four-run seventh inning behind three errors after rallying to get back into a game that saw their offense sputter until the fifth inning.
"Once again, the big inning has been the difference in all of our losses," said head coach J.P. Davis. "It happened again here today and there's no doubt the seventh inning was the difference."
Trailing 2-1 and coming off a fifth-inning that saw the Demons score their first run, Southern plated four runs in the top of the seventh that featured three Demon infield errors - two of those coming off of sacrifice bunt attempts.
"It all started with the walk," said Davis. "We walk the leadoff batter and then their sac attempt is a bang-bang play at first but it was ruled that (pitcher Austin) Robson didn't hit the bag at first and had to go back to get it. But then we have our defense set up for another sac bunt and we have an easy play at third base for the out but we just can't handle the ball."
The Demons chalked up their third error of the game when shortstop Nick Hinojos' throw to first sailed away from Will Watson that scored two runs and make it 4-1 in favor of the Jaguars (4-3).
After an intentional walk to Cameron McGriff, Brian Rowry knocked in two runs on a single to right field to give Southern a 6-1 lead.
NSU finished with nine hits in the game but didn't get things cranked up offensively until the fifth inning when it scored a run off a Drew Helenihi single to cut a 2-0 deficit to 2-1.
In the seventh, third baseman Chad Northcott reached on a throwing error by Southern relief pitcher Zephran Rochelle. Southern would follow with a pitching change and Jordan Buckley doubled to left field to score Northcott and cut the lead to 6-2. The Demons added another run on a two-out RBI grounder by Nick Purdy after Helenihi moved Buckley to third on a single to right field.
Southern added one in the eighth inning to go up 7-3 but the Demons rallied for a run in the bottom of the frame on a Ryan Westbrook one-out single that scored Hinojos to cut the deficit to 7-4. But the Demons would leave a runner stranded then went down in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.
Demon starting pitcher Colin Bear (0-1) took the loss after he allowed two run on seven hits in 4.1 innings. He struck out seven and walked just one.
"I thought Bear did a nice job on the mound and really settled down after the first inning," said Davis. "It was his second start of the week so the plan was for him to just get five innings in and he almost did that."
Southern scored two runs in the top of the first inning after Taylor Roy led off the game with a single. After back-to-back strikeouts, Stephen Wallace doubled down the left field line to score Roy and McGriff followed with a single to center field that scored Wallace and make it 2-0.
"Southern hits the ball very well as a team," said Davis. "We knew that coming in and knew we were going to have to keep the ball down in the zone."
Buckley led NSU at the plate with a 2-for-4 game while Helenihi added two hits in five at-bats.
Brian Foster (2-0) got the win for the Jaguars after he allowed one unearned run and four hits in five innings of work.
The Demons will return to action on Tuesday when they visit Texas A&M to start a two-game mid-week series.