NEW ORLEANS – Former Parkway star Amani Larry went 3-for-5 with a home run, double and two RBI as UNO rallied past Northwestern State 7-6 in a Southland Conference opener Friday night at Maestri Field.
UNO (13-7, 1-0) trailed 6-5 going into the bottom of the ninth.
Kasten Furr’s base hit after a nine-pitch at-bat led things off. Larry followed with a line drive single to put the winning run aboard.
Pearce Howard, who was one of three Privateers with three hits, delivered a game tying RBI single back up the middle that just squeezed into shallow center.
That set up Anthony Herron Jr., who hit a slow grounder to shortstop. The throw was high and Larry scored the winning run.
The Privateers never led until the final pitch.
“Against good teams on the road, you’ve got to play pretty clean and extend the lead when they bring in a guy in the fifth,” sixth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “Hopefully, that’s something we can learn. It was a good Friday night baseball game in the Southland Conference against a really good team over there.”
The Demons (10-12, 0-1) managed five hits on the game but made them count.
Jeffrey Elkins homered for the second straight game – a solo shot in the first – and Bo Willis drilled a bases-clearing double off UNO starter Tyler LeBlanc to open a 4-1 lead in the third.
The Demons pushed LeBlanc’s pitch count to 101 through four innings, getting into the Privateer bullpen early.
UNO right-hander Jack Williams (4-0) proved to be much more effective than LeBlanc, tossing five shutout innings to allow the Privateers to chip away at NSU’s 6-3 lead.
“He came in and did a good job,” Barbier said. “We did a good job of getting their starter out of the game. He’s been good all year, great numbers, and we made him pitch differently than he wanted to.”
With Williams working effectively, UNO’s offense was able to take advantage of some soft contact and a couple of home runs off Cal Carver to creep back into the game.
Carver left with a 6-5 lead after six innings, getting Furr to strike out with the tying run on base to end the sixth inning before giving way to Dawson Flowers, who put up a pair of scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth.
Carver scattered 10 hits, allowing five runs (four earned) while taking his second no-decision of the season.
“It’s a tough one,” Barbier said. “They had some weak contact, even in the ninth inning. That’s a part of life. You’ve got to move on and be ready to play (Saturday).”
The series continues at 2 p.m. Saturday. Right-hander Johnathan Harmon (2-2, 1.95) takes the mound for the Demons against New Orleans left-hander Brandon Mitchell (0-2, 4.91).