Nicholls softball sweeps weekend slate
The Nicholls State University softball team has a flare for the dramatic.
This past weekend, the Colonels won a couple tough, thrilling games – both of which may end up on the list of best games in the 2017 Southland Conference softball season.
Nicholls swept Southeastern this weekend at home, but little came easy for the Colonels in the three-game slate.
After a mercy rule victory on Friday afternoon, Nicholls overcame two-run deficits in both the second and third games of the series to improve to 8-1 in the Southland Conference slate.
Colonels coach Angel Santiago said earlier this season that the team’s grit and unwillingness to ever quit is what he likes most about his team. That toughness was on full display throughout the weekend.
“We play hard throughout the game,” Santiago said. “Our ladies really take pride in their effort, and we try and give a good one every day when we’re at the ballpark. I think it’s hard to make us panic, and that allows us to keep our poise in tough situations.”
The series started off easy for the Colonels.
Nicholls mercied Southeastern in the opener, storming out to a 9-0 lead after three innings.
Designated hitter Jessica Taylor was huge for the Colonels in the opener, going 2-of-2 with three RBI in the victory.
Also key were second baseman Brooke Morris (2-of-3, 3 runs scored) and right fielder Samantha Mracich (2 runs scored).
With the offense on the scoreboard, the Colonels put the game away in the circle.
Pitcher Megan Landry was flawless for the Colonels, allowing just one run and four hits on 81 pitches for the Colonels.
The game was called via mercy rule in the middle of the fifth inning because the Colonels had an eight-run advantage over the visiting Lions.
But for as smooth as the series started for Nicholls, the rest of the weekend was played under far choppier waters, though the Colonels still prevailed.
In the nightcap on Friday night, Southeastern was rolling early, using a mid-inning flurry to take a 3-1 lead over the Colonels, who had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
But as they’ve had a knack for doing all season, Nicholls battled back and then found a way to win.
They tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning in the strangest of fashions.
After a Mracich single to lead off the inning, Morris squared up, then got down a bunt.
Southeastern fielded the bunt cleanly, but then threw the softball wild – so wild that Mracich scored from first. The Lions’ defense had a hard time finding the ball after the mistake, which allowed Morris to also come around and score on the play to tie the game.
After the error, the Colonels threatened to take the lead in the fifth, but the Lions got out of trouble to take the game into the late innings tied at 3.
But Nicholls was still able to finish the deal.
After a scoreless sixth inning, the Colonels won it in the last. Pitcher Jackie Johnson sent the Lions down in order in the top of the seventh inning, which set the stage for the rally, which was capped by a walk-off single from first baseman Kasey Frederick, who was 3-of-3 in the win.
On Saturday in the finale, chaos ensued, though the Colonels still got the sweep.
The final game of the series was a shootout, and runs were scored in 10 of the 13 half-innings played.
Nicholls trailed 5-3 in the bottom of the third, but got three runs of their own to take a 6-5 lead.
After the teams traded runs in the fourth inning, the Colonels sealed the deal in the fifth, shutting down the Lions and then plating two runs in the bottom half to take a 9-6 lead.
Southeastern threatened in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with no outs.
But they only scored one run in the rally, as Landry retired three-straight hitters in relief to seal the victory and the series sweep.
With the wins, the Colonels improved to 22-11 on the season and 8-1 in the league.
They are in a three-way tie for second place with Abilene Christian and Lamar, who own the same record.
McNeese State is in first place with a perfect 9-0 mark in the league.
The Colonels take on the Cowgirls for a three-game series from April 14-15 in Thibodaux.
NICHOLLS BASEBALL SWEPT IN LAKE CHARLES
The Nicholls State University baseball team didn’t have nearly as much fun as the softball team did this past weekend.
The Colonels were swept by McNeese State in Lake Charles – allowing 32 runs over the three-game series.
The Colonels were beaten handily on Friday and Saturday, falling 9-2 and then 12-3.
Sunday’s game started on the wrong foot, too, with the Cowboys storming out to an early 5-0 lead.
But Nicholls battled back to make the game close in the late stages.
But the Colonels could never seal the deal, going scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings to fall 11-8.
With the losses, the Colonels are now 5-4 in the Southland Conference.
They’re on a bye from Southland play this weekend and will host Texas Southern University.
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