Fresh off of its third straight conference series victory after a win over preseason favorite Sam Houston, the Northwestern State baseball team will play a pair of midweek games against in-state rivals starting with Grambling on Tuesday at 6 o'clock at Brown-Stroud Field.
After the Demons (14-12) host Grambling (7-20), they will travel to Louisiana Tech (9-17) at 6:00 on Wednesday before an early battle for first place in the league standings with Nicholls. The Colonels sit atop the Southland Conference and are one game ahead of Northwestern State.
Sam Houston has four wins over Top 25 teams, most recently an 8-1 victory over No. 22 Texas A&M Wednesday, and worked its way up to 16th in the nation before falling out of the rankings last week.
The Demons took the game on Friday (12-1), lost 9-4 on Saturday, and finished the rubber match with a 3-1 victory. In both victories, the Demons held a shutout until at least the eighth inning. The Bearkats, who average six runs a game, have been held to one run three times this season; two of them were issued by Northwestern State.
"We've got five games this week, so it's right back into action," said head coach Lane Burroughs. "It's a long season and a marathon."
Northwestern State will start Josh Oller (0-0, 5.19 earned run average) on the mound against Grambling on Tuesday. He earned his first start when the Demons faced Louisiana-Lafayette, and worked two innings with one run allowed on two hits.
Chase Daughdrill, who has reached base in all but one game this season, leads NSU will a .319 batting average, 19 runs scored, and 22 runs batted in. Caleb Dugas follows him with a .313 batting average and also has 19 runs scored. Cort Brinson (.314) and Edwin Gomez (.309) also have .300 batting averages.
Korey Hall leads Grambling with a .347 batting average, and Yariel Median has the team's highest RBI count (15).
"Grambling can really hit the ball," said Burroughs. "They've played a really tough schedule and lost a lot of close games to some good teams. They gave us fits last year and are coached well."
Taylor Love leads Louisiana Tech with a .319 batting average followed by Stephen Gandy who hits at a .300 clip. Both batters have 10 RBIs, behind Tyler Ervine's 15 and Bre'shon Kimbell's 11. Love leads the Bulldogs with 16 runs scored.
"Louisiana Tech is the same. They are a well-coached bunch," said Burroughs. "I respect those guys and think a lot of them. I know it's a big rivalry and our guys understand that.
"First thing is first, we'll get ready for Grambling and then move on to Louisiana Tech before a big weekend at home."
Tony Taglavore will have the call on 100.7 KZBL-FM in Natchitoches and online at NSUDemons.com.
The first game against Nicholls is slated for 6:30, second game is at on Saturday at 2:00, and the final game is on Sunday at 1 o'clock.