Stuart’s walk-off homer, record-setting day help NSU edge UTA

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NATCHITOCHES – This time, the Northwestern State baseball team punched back — and no one took bigger more impactful swings that Daunte Stuart.

Stuart tied the school record Saturday afternoon with three home runs in game with the last providing the Demons with an 11-10 walk-off win against UT Arlington in the second of a three-game non-conference series at Brown-Stroud Field.

“I was just looking for a good pitch over the white of the plate that I could drive,” Stuart said of the 2-0 pitch he saw from Thomas Kuykendoll (0-2). “I wasn’t 100 percent sure it was gone, because I didn’t get all of the barrel on it. When it got over, I was very excited.”

Stuart’s line-drive home run to left ended a back-and-forth affair in which the Demons (5-5) hit six home runs – three from Stuart and the other three from a trio of players who had yet to homer in a Demon uniform. His first home run – a rocket shot to left-center with two outs in the first – helped start NSU on its way back from a 3-0 deficit.

His second was part of back-to-back, fifth-inning home runs with freshman Michael Dattalo. His third gave NSU its second one-run win of the season and its first walk-off home run since Bryce Holmes’ 10th-inning shot against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on April 3, 2022.

Stuart’s singles in the third and seventh innings gave him a school record 14 total bases in the game. His single through the right side of the infield in the third drove in the first run in a five-run inning that saw Cust connect on a go-ahead, three-run home run and Farrell follow with a solo shot to left field.

“What a day by Daunte,” seventh-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “I don’t know that I’ve seen a better one. He’s a special player. He couldn’t go yesterday, decided to try to go today with an injury and obviously made the most of it. It was special for him and for our team.

“We punched back today. We haven’t done that in the games we’ve lost. We’ve lost the lead and kind of gave it up. Today, hopefully we learned what we can do when we punch back. Every time they scored, we responded. I’m proud of our guys.”

The Mavericks (3-7) jumped on NSU starter Alex Makarewich in the first inning, scoring three in the opening frame before Stuart answered with his two-out, first-inning home run. That pattern held throughout the day.

UTA scored in four innings, and each time, Northwestern State answered – twice with multi-run frames.

The first was the five-run third with the second coming in the seventh inning when Farrell added to his career day at the plate, lining a bases-loaded, two-run double to left to snap an 8-all tie.

Farrell finished 3-for-4 with a career-high three RBIs in his 48th career game.

“I was just trying to get something out over the plate,” Farrell said. “Yesterday, I got away from my approach. I was just trying to calm myself down and be at peace at the plate.”

NSU saved its final tiebreaking swing for last with Stuart delivering the second multi-home run and second five-hit game of his NSU career. Stuart also became the first Demon to score five runs in a game since Caleb Ricca (6) and David Fry (5) did so in a 34-0 win against Mississippi Valley State on April 25, 2018.

“All three of the guys who got their first Demon dingers, I’m happy for them,” Stuart said. “I just knew this team, we’re a good team and we showed it today.”

The series concludes Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch. UTA will send left-hander Caden Noah (2-0, 3.27) to the mound against NSU right-hander Drayton Brown (0-1, 6.75).

Northwestern State 11, UTA 10
UTA 301 000 402 – 10 10 0
NSU 105 020 201 – 11 14 3
W – Kyle Froehlich (2-0). L – Thomas Kuykendall (0-2). 2B – UTA, Garrison Berkley. NSU, Jacob Farrell. HR – UTA, Ben Lumsden (2), Ryan Black (1). NSU, Daunte Stuart 3 (3), Michael Dattalo (1), Brayden Cust (1), Jacob Farrell (1). Highlights: UTA, Matt Cavanagh 2-4, RBI; Black 2-5, HR, 2 RBIs. NSU, Stuart 5-5, 3 HRs, 4 RBIs; Dattalo 2-4, HR, RBI; Cust 2-4, HR, 3 RBIs; Farrell 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBIs.
Records: UTA 3-7; Northwestern State 5-5.

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