SOFTBALL — Northwestern State completes series sweep of Nicholls

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THIBODAUX — The Northwestern State softball team was eager for the chance to bounce back this weekend at Nicholls. After not performing how they wanted to at the Wooo Pig Classic, the Lady Demons were hungry to return to action, right some wrongs and compete.

All three of those boxes were checked in NSU’s Southland Conference opening series. The Lady Demons finished off a sweep of the Colonels on Saturday with a 4-0 victory.

“Our team knew we didn’t have a good last weekend, and I think us having the experience we have on our team, and the leadership we have on our team really paid off,” head coach Donald Pickett said. “We were able to hit the reset button last week and work hard and know we have a new season.”

The win improves Northwestern State to 9-7 on the season and 3-0 in conference play. The loss drops Nicholls to 6-8 overall and 0-3 in league action.

Junior starting pitcher, E.C. Delafield was the main proponent in the Lady Demons’ success Saturday. She was as sharp as she’s ever been, tossing all seven innings and allowing just two hits with six strikeouts.

“She had good stuff today, for sure,” Pickett said. “She did a really good job commanding the zone and attacking the hitters, and she was really confident out there. It was a dominant performance from E.C.”

The victory moved Delafield to 2-1 on the season. It also marked her first complete game shutout since May 7 of 2019.

Delafield helped out her own cause, registering the game’s first run on an RBI double in the top of the first. She also recorded an RBI groundout in the second, which followed an RBI single by senior outfielder Hayley Barbazon.

All three of those runs occurred early in the contest. That allowed Delafield to settle into the game with some run support but also showed a heightened focus of the Lady Demons’ approach at the dish.

“We went out there to play and win softball games,” Pickett said. “That was a huge thing. Seeing us being aggressive, going out there to win and not just going through the motions and kind of seeing what happens in the game. I thought that was a big deal for us this weekend.”

Sophomore catcher Alexis Perry put the finishing touches on the win with an RBI single in the fifth. The victory marked the second consecutive season in which NSU opened Southland Conference play with a sweep. And that’s no easy task.

“It’s very challenging, and there’s not a lot of sweeps out there,” Pickett said. “But when you get a chance to get one, you need to make it happen.”

Looking out even further, 2015 marked the last time NSU swept Nicholls. Looking back even further than that, 2002 represented the last time NSU swept the Colonels in Thibodaux.

Northwestern State remains on the road in conference play next weekend. The Lady Demons travel to Incarnate Word for a three-game set beginning Friday at 5 p.m.

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