Northwestern State finds different ways to win in sweep of Prairie View A&M

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NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State softball found different ways to victory Tuesday as the Lady Demons swept Prairie View A&M with wins of 7-6 and 7-0.

NSU (26-24) outslugged the Lady Panthers (27-14) in the first game as a Maggie Black sixth-inning single handed the Lady Demons the lead for good.

Senior pitcher Mikayla Brown owned the second game with a complete-game shutout, notching the win with just four hits allowed.

NSU will take its momentum into its final regular season series when Central Arkansas visits for a Friday doubleheader and a Saturday finale.

NSU 7, Prairie View 0

Brown posted her team-high third shutout of the season as she dominated the Southwestern Conference-leading Prairie View A&M.

The win moved her into a tie for sixth-place all-time at NSU with 45 career victories, matching Cindy Leggett’s total from 1997-2000.

“I knew that I had to spin really well because (Prairie View A&M) was an aggressive team that swings hard,” said Brown, who notched seven strikeouts. “Spinning the ball and making it miss the bats was important.

“We wanted to make quality outs, and I knew my defense was behind me.”

After a bunt single in the second inning, Brown didn’t allow another hit until the leadoff batter in the sixth inning. She retired 12 of 13 batters at one point, also working around a walk, two hit batters and two errors.

The NSU offense scored single runs in the third and fifth innings off a Cayla Jones sacrifice fly and an Elise Vincent RBI single.

But the Lady Demons solved Prairie View pitcher Ashley Higgins (6-3) to the tune of five sixth-inning runs.

Freshman Riley Cantrell doubled in a run before Vincent delivered a bases-loaded, two RBI single for a 5-0 edge. Jones (two RBIs) and freshman Alexis Perry each singled in runs to complete the inning.

Vincent finished with a career-high 3-for-4 with a career-high three RBIs. She stole two of her combined six bases in the second game, swiping a career-high four bases in the first game.

“It took us a little while to get going in the second game, so it was huge for us to get runners into scoring position with steals,” Vincent said. “I was seeing pitches really well, and I was able to catch them out in front to drive them.

“Brown is just a fighter, and every time she gets on the mound, I’m super excited for her because I know she’ll bring her all. She always bows up when we need her to.”

NSU 7, Prairie View 6

With both offenses exploding for 11 hits in the first game, NSU needed reliever Samantha Guile to bring calm as she stemmed the tide.

A Guile wild pitch tied the game 6-6 in the fourth inning, but the junior didn’t allow another run as Black found a sixth-inning single for the go-ahead run.

Guile (9-10) wasn’t credited with a run in her 3 1-3 innings, allowing four hits and two walks. All six runs (five earned) were credited to starter Bronte Rhoden, who allowed seven hits and two walks in 3 2-3 innings.

The offense came early and often as NSU scored a combined six runs in the first three innings.

A Codi Vernace RBI single with the bases loaded gave NSU a 1-0 lead, but Prairie View left three of NSU’s 11 stranded runners on board.

Prairie View struck back with two runs in the next inning on bases-loaded RBIs by Gabrielle Fonseca and Shelby Williams to grab a 2-1 edge. Williams was one of four Lady Panthers with a pair of hits.

NSU retook the lead with two second-inning runs. Junior Emma Hawthorne doubled in a run before Alexis Perry singled in another for the 3-2 advantage. Both Hawthorne and Perry had two RBIs with Perry going 3-for-4 at the plate.

The Lady Demons appeared to have run away when they built a 6-2 edge in the third inning.

Vincent had an RBI single with Hawthorne and Perry delivering the final two runs of the inning.

But Prairie View stormed back with four runs in the fourth inning. Destinee Williams drew an RBI walk before a Laurisa Hernandez two-RBI single and a run scored on Guile’s wild pitch tied the game, 6-6.

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