NATCHITOCHES, La - Senior Tyler Watkins recorded his fifth complete game of the season as he scattered eight hits and fanned two as Southeastern Louisiana blanked intrastate rival Northwestern State, 5-0, in a Southland Conference game Thursday at Brown-Stroud Field.
Cass Hargis went 3-for-5 with an RBI triple and scored two runs as Southeastern (35-19, 18-13 SLC) moved into sole possession of third place in the league standings.
Watkins (10-3), who became the first Southeastern pitcher to earn 10 wins in a season since Jeff Williams in 1996, notched his third win in a five-day span while tossing his second shutout of the year. The 6-foot-5 right-hander induced 16 groundball outs and was aided by a Southeastern defense that turned a season-high four double plays.
Northwestern State (21-32, 10-21 SLC) threatened in the second inning after Will Watson led off with a single before Omar Garcia followed with a bloop single. Watson attempted to move from first to third, but was thrown out at third before Matt Farmer grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Demons threatened again in the fourth after Nick Hinojos hit into a 1-6-3 double play. Watson reached on a single, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. But after walking Garcia, Watkins got Farmer to ground out to end the inning.
Watkins, who threw 113 pitches, allowed two base runners after Jordan Buckley reached on a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning. Drew Helenihi was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth inning and Ray Frias reached on an eighth-inning single.
Southeastern scored early as Hargis led off the game with a single off NSU starter Luke Irvine (6-7), stole second, moved to third on an error and scored on a grounder by Justin Boudreaux. Hargis gave Southeastern a 2-0 lead in the third when he reached on a leadoff single, stole second and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Harkensee.
The Lions increased their lead to 4-0 in the sixth after taking advantage of a pair of walks, an error and a wild pitch. Brock Hebert led off the inning with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Cody Gougler before scoring when Irvine uncorked a wild pitch.
Hargis gave Southeastern a 4-0 lead when he laced a two-out triple to left-center-field that allowed Joe Sparacino to score from first.
The Lions added a run in the eighth after Hebert doubled into the left-field corner and eventually scored when he crossed home plate before pinch-runner Alex Marse was tagged out between first and second for the final out of the frame.
The series resumes on Friday in a 6:30 p.m. contest. Senior Brandon Efferson (8-3, 3.48 ERA) will start for Southeastern with Northwestern State sending Bear (2-4, 3.63 ERA) to the mound.
The game can be heard in the Hammond area on KSLU-FM (90.9) and on the internet at www.LionSports.net.
Southeastern La..... 101 002 010 - 5 9 0 (35-19, 18-13 SLC)
Northwestern State.. 000 000 000 - 0 8 3 (21-32, 10-21 SLC)
Watkins and Fisher . Irvine, Northcott (8) and Munoz. W – Watkins (10-3). L – Irvine (6-7). E – Bear (6), Hinojos (17), Munoz (5). DP - SLU 4. LOB - SLU 7, NWLA 5. 2B – Hebert (11). 3B – Hargis (3). HBP - Helenihi. SH – Gougler 2 (4). SF – Harkensee (3). SB – Hargis 2 (8), Hebert 2 (24), Watson (8), Buckley (4). CS – Hargis (5). T - 2:18. A – 422.