BEAUMONT, Texas – The Northwestern State baseball team’s version of Groundhog Day was even more productive than the original.
The Demons used a mid-game offensive surge to batter Lamar, 15-3, on Tuesday night, scoring their second victory at Vincent-Beck Stadium in 14 days.
Northwestern State (17-14) broke the game open by scoring 11 runs from the fifth to seventh innings, sparked by home runs by J.P. Lagreco and Peyton Davis, a former Airline star. It was Davis’ first home run at NSU.
“I was fired up for Peyton,” hitting coach Taylor Dugas said. “The kid works his tail off. He’s stayed patient this whole time. He’s had a few more at-bats lately and really taking good BP all the time. He’s getting better. We were excited to see that home run.”
“(It was) a good offensive performance,” Dugas said. “We got some big performances from (Luke) Watson, who had three hits, and Lagreco, who was a triple away from the cycle. We did a good job of starting fast. We were ready to hit early in the count, got some mistakes out over the plate and put some good swings on them.”
As they did two weeks ago, the Demons jumped on Lamar (7-26) early.
The first four Demons delivered hits against Cardinals starter Chet Jones (0-2), who did not retire a batter.
Kwan Adkins led off with a single, David Fry followed with an RBI double before Watson singled and Lagreco brought home both Fry and Watson with a two-run double.
It was the start of a career night for Lagreco, whose three-run home run capped a four-run sixth inning that helped the Demons build a 10-2 lead.
Lagreco went 3-for-5 with a career-high five RBIs, becoming the second Demon in three games to knock in five runs. Lagreco’s home run came on the first pitch from Marcus Olivarez, the sixth of seven Cardinals pitchers.
“My at-bats before, coach (Bobby) Barbier told me to be on time for the fastball,” Lagreco said. “I was late the two times before. I knew he was coming in with a fastball right off the bat. I was looking for it and put a good swing on it.”
After the three-run first inning, the Demons did not score for the next three innings, allowing the Cardinals to slice the lead to 3-2 on Robin Adames’ third-inning RBI double.
With Adames on third and two outs, Barbier summoned Tyler Pigott (1-0) from the bullpen, and Pigott responded with the longest outing of his career.
The left-hander fanned Logan Lejeune to strand Adames and retired the first seven batters he faced. By the time Cole Coker led off the Lamar sixth with a double, the Demons’ lead stood at eight thanks to Pigott’s stellar relief work.
“From the beginning, I try to go in and do my job the best I can, just throw strikes,” said Pigott, who struck out a career-high five batters. “I just let my defense work. When the hitters do that, it just brings your confidence up and lets you throw a lot of strikes.”
The Demons continued to take advantage of Cardinals miscues, scoring six unearned runs off six Lamar errors, including four unearned runs in the seventh inning.
Davis’ home run, a two-run opposite-field blast to right field, highlighted the inning.
Five Northwestern State hitters had multi-hit games as the Demons banged out a season-high 16 hits.
Watson (3-for-5, RBI) and Lagreco each had three hits while Kwan Adkins, Caleb Ricca and Austin Townsend (2 RBIs) each had two hits. Watson became the first Demon to score four runs in a game this season and has scored seven runs in two games against Lamar this season.
The Demons return to action Friday when they host Southeastern Louisiana in the opener of a three-game series. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Brown-Stroud Field.
— Jason Pugh, Assistant Sports Information Director, Northwestern State