Belle, Colonels edge out series opener against UIW, 2-1

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THIBODAUX, La. — Despite enduring a five-game losing streak dating back nearly two weeks, the Nicholls State University baseball program (17-23, 12-13 SLC) rallied behind some key offensive flashes from Dillon Belle along with an elite pitching performance from starter Chase Gearing throughout a hard-fought series opener against UIW (14-24, 10-19 SLC), officially battling back into the win column as the Colonels outlasted the Cardinals via a tight 2-1 decision Friday evening at Ben Meyer Diamond at Ray E. Didier Field.

Belle, who entered the contest in a bit of a slump (two hits across his past 15 at-bats), powered his way to a pair of doubles, an RBI and one run scored, essentially involving himself in every scoring action for the Colonels one way or another. Over on the mound, Gearing (4-3) proved up to the task in his usual series-opening role, setting down eight batters on strikes through a solid 6.1 innings of work while surrendering just one run on four hits overall.

— With the win, the Colonels improve to 17-23 overall for the season along with a 12-13 mark in Southland competition; meanwhile, UIW falls to a 14-24 mark on the year with a 10-19 record in league play.
— Out of the pen, a pair of veteran arms executed across 2.2 frames of relief, as senior Beau Balado gave up just two hits while striking out three before junior Joe Taylor secured his eighth save of the season behind a one-two-three — all strikeouts — ninth inning, locking in the one-run victory for the Colonels.
— Outside of Belle, freshman Wes Toups put together a solid offensive showing as well, notching a pair of hits across four at-bats in his seventh multi-hit contest of the year.

With the series opener officially closed out, the four-game set against the Cardinals continues with a key doubleheader on Saturday, May 1, first pitch slated for 3 p.m. at Didier Field.

For more information on Colonels Baseball, follow the team on Twitter (@Nicholls_BSB), Instagram (@geauxcolonels) and like their Facebook page (Nicholls Athletics).

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