NSU battles OU at Globe Life, expectations high


Chris Brown/NSU Athletics

Northwestern State University of Louisiana baseball gained the opportunity to play at an Major League Baseball stadium in the last weekend of February.

It’s any young kid’s dream to play baseball in Major League Baseball and compete at the highest level. Northwestern State University of Louisiana baseball gained the opportunity to play at an MLB stadium in the last weekend of February.

NSU battled out an exciting three-game series versus Big 12 Conference opponent University of Oklahoma from Feb. 25 to Feb. 27. Due to weather conditions, the Demons and Sooners moved the game to Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers, an MLB team based out of Arlington, Texas.

Head Coach Bobby Barbier said NSU had no idea they would be playing in a Major League stadium until three days before the series. However, Barbier said his guys handled the nice surprise.

“I thought we handled it well, you know, I thought we were a little wide-eyed when we showed up and got that out of the system,” Barbier said. “And I thought, you know, as you could see from the first game we played, we played pretty tough.”

Some student athletes that played in Globe Life shared their experience playing in a Major League Stadium.

“It was really cool, just the whole atmosphere of being in a big-league stadium and a big league bullpen,” Demons left-handed pitcher Cal Carver said.

Carver said playing a team like OU proved that the Demons are good enough to hang with the big boys and not matter where they play, the Demons will show up.

Northwestern State showed up and showed out the whole weekend.

In game one on Friday, Feb. 25, the Demons captured a 4-2 win over the Sooners. Carver pitched a full six innings before Dawson Flowers and Cameron Taylor each entered in the seventh inning and took control of pitching.

“Once we battled [OU pitcher Jake Bennett] out of the game, we were able to get into their bullpen and string some hits together and score some runs,” Carver said. “I think it really just kept our confidence high and got our morale high moving into Saturday.”

Game two on Saturday could have gone in either team’s favor. NSU scored early off of Cam Sibley’s groundout that scored Cole Horton, but that was the only Demon run as OU pulled away with the 2-1 victory.

The Sooners ran away with a 5-1 win and claimed the series on Sunday, but that didn’t stop the Demons from clawing away at a comeback in game three.

Nonetheless, according to the players, NSU will not forget this experience for a long time.

“We all just wanna play like the big leagues and we have that dream of just going pro, but to be able to play in Globe Life was amazing,” NSU center fielder Larson Fontenot said. “To be honest, it was all awesome.”

Fontenot enters his last season with the Demons, starting so far with one series win over Stephen F. Austin. In 2018, Fontenot’s freshman season ended with the Demons capturing its first Southland Conference tournament championship.

NSU went on to play in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. Fontenot has seen NSU defeat notable programs like OU and Louisiana State University, but says the Demons are not close to their ceiling yet, especially after this weekend.

“I think we have big things coming this year, especially like we get to conference,” Fontenot said. “We have a great chance of going all the way to going to a regional [in the NCAA tournament].”

Fontenot mentioned Nashville Sounds catcher David Fry showed him leadership and tools that he can use. Before being drafted to the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2018 MLB Draft, Fry contributed to the Demons’ SLC tournament championship and led Fontenot to be a great leader.

“He showed me the ways of being a leader and I feel like I have the tools to have a chance to go to the next level,” Fontenot said.