HOUSTON – HBU junior Todd Jackson got a pinch-hit dribbler up the middle that was good enough to plate freshman shortstop Sebastian Trinidad with the game-winning run as the Huskies posted a walk-off, 7-6 victory over Northwestern State in the Southland Conference baseball series opener Friday afternoon at Husky Field.
With the game tied, 6-6, Trinidad drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth, then he went to second on senior centerfielder Chase Talbot’s groundout to the shortstop. Jackson was down in the count 0-2 when Trinidad took off for third and he never stopped, as Jackson reached out and hit a bouncer past the mound, but neither NSU second baseman Daunte Stuart or shortstop Cam Sibley could get to it to keep Trinidad from scoring.
Sophomore first baseman Brennen Bales went 3-for-5 with a triple, an RBI, and scored twice for the Huskies (8-23, 5-12 SLC), while senior designated hitter Brandon Bena also went 3-for-5. Sophomore catcher Dawson Woods was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and Trinidad was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and scored a run. Junior second baseman Jake Miller went 2-for-5 with a run to extend his hitting streak to five games and senior left fielder Lane Botkin was 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run.
Sophomore righthander Morris Austin (3-0) picked up the win in relief, holding NSU scoreless on two hits with five strikeouts and a walk in 2.2 innings. Sophomore right-hander Tyler Zarella tossed five innings in relief, giving up five runs, four earned, on seven hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Junior lefthander Austin Spinney started and gave up one run on one hit, but walked three in 1.1 innings.
Marshall Skinner went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs, and a run for the Demons (15-16, 9-8). Lenni Kunert was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs and Jake Haze was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Jeffrey Elkins doubled, drove in a pair, and scored.
Drayton Brown (1-2) took the loss, allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts in 2.2 innings for NSU. Starter Johnathan Harmon allowed four runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 3.2 innings. Reed Michel allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits with two strikeouts and a walk in 2.1 innings.
HBU jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the first. Junior right fielder Christian Dumont drew a leadoff walk, then Miller singled up the middle. Bales came through with an RBI single to left. Woods and Trinidad added back-to-back, two-out RBI singles to extend the advantage to 3-0.
Spinney loaded the bases with three straight walks in the second and Haze got NSU on the board with a single, before Zarella come in to get HBU out of the jam. The Demons tied the game with a pair in the third on three-straight doubles by Kunert, Elkins, and Skinner.
The HBU Huskies answered to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the third when Bales led off with a triple and Botkin followed with an RBI double.
Stuart led off the fourth with a single and Kunert followed with a double. Elkins tied the game with a sacrifice fly, then Skinner gave NSU the lead with an RBI single. The Demons extended the lead when Skinner singled and later scored on a passed ball to make the score 6-4.
Botkin led off the seventh with a single, then scored on Woods’ RBI double to left-center. Brown came in and struck out Trinidad and Talbot, but a passed ball and a wild pitch allowed junior pinch-runner Parker Wayne to plate the tying run.
The series continues with a doubleheader Saturday at 11 a.m., followed by the single-game finale Sunday at 2 p.m.