Nicholls advances to first Southland championship game since 1998 with 5-3 win over UNO

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Edgar Alvarez

LAKE CHARLES, La. – Top seed Nicholls advanced to the championship game of the 2023 Southland Conference Baseball Championship with a 5-3 win over fourth seed New Orleans on Friday.

Nicholls is now 33-22 on the season and advances to the SLC tournament championship game for the first time since 1998 – the school’s only other championship game appearance. New Orleans is now 35-23 on the year and takes on Northwestern State at 6 p.m. in an elimination game. NSU sent home host McNeese in Friday’s second game.

The Colonels opened the scoring with a two-out rally in top of the second. Garrett Felix doubled to left and came home on MaCrae Kendrick’s single to right to make it 1-0 in Nicholls’ favor.

In the third, Parker Coddou walked, Xane Washington singled, and the duo executed a double steal to put both runners in scoring position with two out. Gerardo Villarreal brought them both home with a single up the middle to push the lead to 3-0, but was thrown out trying to extend the hit into a double.

In the bottom of the inning, the Privateers narrowed the deficit back to one run. Issac Williams singled to right, then came home on Tyler Bischke’s opposite field homerun to cut the lead to 3-2.

Nicholls gave itself some cushion in the sixth on Edgar Alvarez’ solo homer to left, then a two-out run-scoring single by Coddou in the seventh to make it a 5-2 game.

New Orleans’ Jeissy De la Cruz hit a solo homer to left in the seventh to cut the lead to 5-3 and drive Nicholls starter Tyler Theriot from the game, but Gavin Galy did not allow a Privateer baserunner in the final 2.2 innings to seal the victory.

For Nicholls, Theriot moved his record to 3-4 on the season, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and no walks in 6.1 innings. Galy earned the save with five strikeouts in 2.2 perfect innings. Neither Nicholls pitcher issued a walk in the game. Felix went 2-for-4 with a double.

For New Orleans, Jack Williams started and was hit with the loss to fall to 3-1 on the year after allowing three runs on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Useche went 2-for-4 and Bischke drove in two.

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