Big inning lifts Northwestern State baseball team past Tulane

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER. Alex Byo warms up with the Tulane baseball team Feb. 5. Byo and the Green Wave take on Notre Dame this weekend at Turchin Stadium.
Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER. Alex Byo warms up with the Tulane baseball team Feb. 5. Byo and the Green Wave take on Notre Dame this weekend at Turchin Stadium.

NEW ORLEANS — A two-out, two-run double by Matt Baca sparked a five-run sixth inning that gave the Northwestern State baseball team a 5-1 victory over Tulane on Wednesday afternoon at Turchin Stadium.

In winning, the Demons (7-7) earned a split in their two-game midweek series against the Green Wave (7-7).

Northwestern State’s Toby Cornejo opened the sixth inning with a single to left field. He advanced to second base on a Matt Burns sacrifice bunt. Will Watson reached base on a hit by pitch before Nick Purdy grounded out, advancing both runners.

Matt Baca doubled to clear the bases, and Nathan Lyons hit an infield single that put a runners on first and third. Brinson knocked in Baca with an RBI single, and Zack Costa drove in Lyons and Brinson with a two-RBI single.

“We haven’t scored in a couple games, so the five-run inning was much needed for us,” Demons first-year coach Lane Burroughs said. “Baca had a big double that really helped get the ball rolling.”

Cody Butler (1-0) started for the Demons, earning his first win of the season. He allowed one run on five hits in seven innings. Nick Helmstetter and Steven Spann each pitched an inning in relief.

“It’s the fourth game in a row we’ve had a quality start from our pitchers,” Burroughs said. “Butler came out and gave us everything he had, and we (couldn’t) ask for anything more. Helmstetter and Spann were solid and helped us keep a lead.”

Randy LeBlanc (0-1) took the loss for Tulane. In 5.2 innings, he allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

“I felt good,” LeBlanc said. “I definitely feel like I could have thrown better. Clearly we lost. ... If we got out of that inning there, I think we would have won the game.”

Brady Wilson worked the final 3.1 innings for the Green Wave, allowing two runs on four hits.

“We gave up the big inning and we couldn’t have one ourselves,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said. “We hit some balls hard, but we didn’t have a lot to show for it. The big inning for them — they had a couple of balls that we couldn’t get to, and that was really the difference. I though Randy pitched well. We turned a couple of double plays. We played well defensively.”

Tulane surrendered ten hits, while only collecting six of their own.

Brennan Middleton kept his hitting streak alive, however, by going 1-for-4. He has hit safely in 13 consecutive games.

The Green Wave scored its lone run in the third inning on a Sean Potkay single that brought home Tim Yandel.

Brinson and Watson each had two hits and a run.

Every Demon in the starting lineup had at least one hit.

Northwestern State opens a three-game weekend series against Louisiana-Monroe at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Natchitoches. The Saturday and Sunday games are in Monroe.

Tulane hosts High Point in a three-game weekend series.