NATCHITOCHES - Jacob Roark gave Northwestern State the start it needed on the mound in the nightcap of Saturday's Southland Conference doubleheader against Stephen F. Austin and that led to the Demons splitting the twinbill with a 4-2 win after they dropped the opener 8-2.
Roark threw 5.1 innings and gave up one earned run on five hits to set up relief pitcher Joe Scanio to get the win after he threw 2.2 scoreless innings in running his record to 3-2 on the season. Mason Melotakis closed out the ninth with two strikeouts to garner his sixth save of the season.
"The key is to get the good start on the mound," said head coach J.P. Davis. "We got the poor start in the first game and we got behind early. Roark did a nice job in the second game to set up Scanio and Melo to close it out."
SFA (12-15, 5-6 SLC) took a 1-0 lead into the fifth inning before the Demons (11-14, 8-3) tied the game on a Mitch Huckabay double that scored Nick Doughty who led off the frame with a single.
The Lumberjacks got a run back in the sixth after Rene Moreda hit a lead off double and eventually scored on a fielders choice grounder to make it 2-1. But the Demons took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning with two runs to make it 3-2.
Jordan Buckley led things off with a base on balls, stole second and advanced to third when SFA catcher Jarid Scarafiotti's throw down to second on the attempt got away from the fielder. Nick Purdy, who finished the game 2-for-3, knocked in Buckley with a single up the middle to tie the game at 2-2.
Purdy advanced to second when Colin Bear grounded out and after another grounder for the second out of the game, Doughty who finished the day with four hits, was intentionally walked. Nick Hinojos followed with another walk to load the bases and after a SFA pitching change, Ray Frias walked to score Purdy and give the Demons a 3-2 lead.
NSU added an insurance run in the seventh when Drew Helenihi got a lead off single, went to second on a pass ball, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Buckley and scored when Bear hit into a double play to make it 4-2.
Cody Priest (0-4) took the loss for the Lumberjacks after he allowed three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings.
Melotakis' sixth save on the season ranks him ninth on the school's all-time single-season record list and is third on the career list with 11.
The Demons will go for their fourth straight conference series win on Sunday at 1 with Andrew Adams expected to get the start.
Game 1 - Stephen F. Austin 8, Northwestern State 2
A four-run fourth inning for Stephen F. Austin would be all the offense it would need as the Lumberjacks beat Northwestern State 8-2 in the first game of a Southland Conference baseball doubleheader here Saturday afternoon.
SFA starting pitcher Cameron Gann ran stayed perfect on the season for the Lumberjacks as he ran his record to 3-0 after he recorded his second consecutive complete game victory. He gave up just two runs, the second coming in the ninth inning, and six hits with three strikeouts and three walks.
For the Demons, Colin Bear (2-3) dropped his first game in his last four outings after he gave up four runs on six hits in three innings of work. A.J. Funk gave up three runs in two innings, Zach Winchester a run in 1.2 innings and Jamie Bittle closed the game out with 2.1 scoreless innings of no-hit ball.
Offensively, the Demons never got on a roll until the ninth inning as they put up just six hits on the board.
Designated hitter Nick Doughty led the way with a 3-for-3 contest and centerfielder Drew Helenihi had a RBI single.
SFA catcher Jarid Scarafiotti paced his team's 12 hits with a 3-for-4 game with a RBI and run scored. Freddy Villalobos, Hunter Dozier and Rory Myers each had two hits.