Nicholls blanks LA Tech in series finale
RUSTON — Nicholls State scored in five innings and three Colonel pitchers combined for a four-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over Louisiana Tech before 2,141 fans on a partly cloudy and comfortable Sunday afternoon at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
Tech won the first two games of the series, 10-1 and 3-2, and is 4-3 overall. Nicholls is 4-4.
For the second time in the series, Wes Toups led off the game with a homer, a just-barely shot to straightaway right field for a 1-0 Colonels lead. No one knew it at the time, but that would be all the scoring Nicholls would need against a Bulldog team that committed two errors and left eight runners stranded.
Tech left a runner on third in the first, runners at the corners in the third, two on in the seventh, and a runner on third in the eighth.
The Dogs went down in order in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and ninth.
Nicholls starter Jacob Mayers (2-0) walked three and struck out 11 in five innings. In his first start of the season last Sunday in Thibodaux against Lindenwood out of St. Louis, the lean 6-5 right-hander walked three and struck out nine in five scoreless innings in an 8-3 win.
“He pretty much controlled the game,” Tech coach Lane Burroughs said. “We knew he had a good arm, throws it 94, 96, but we see that all the time in college baseball. He threw a couple of breaking balls but he’s basically a one-pitch guy who just ‘rares’ back and throws it. He blew our doors off; he’s got a good future.
“Don’t want to take anything away from him, but we just didn’t make any adjustments. I’m just disappointed in our lack of fight at home plate. I don’t think we fought very hard. And overall, we had a lack of focus. It’s Sunday and on Sunday, you gotta bring it. You’ve gotta protect your home and you can’t come out and lay an egg, and that’s what we did. We got beat in every phase.”
After Toups’ homer in the first, the Colonels scored single runs in the fifth and sixth, three in the seventh and two in the ninth. Junior starter Reed Smith of Lufkin, Texas (0-1) was the hard-luck loser; Smith gave up two hits and two runs, one earned, in 4.1 innings.
The Bulldogs play at NCAA defending national champion Ole Miss Tuesday and Wednesday, both games scheduled for a 4 p.m. first pitch, then are back in The Love Shack for single games Friday (6 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (noon) against Northwestern of the Big 10 Conference.
With the 8-0 loss, LA Tech now leads the all-time series over Nicholls State, 17-15.
Announced attendance: 2,141.All three games of the LA Tech-Nicholls State series had at least 2,000 fans in attendance.
It was the first time ever that the Bulldogs were shutout by the Colonels and the first time the Bulldogs were shutout at home since 2016.
LA Tech tied its season low with just four hits while striking out a season-high 13 times.
Dalton Davis extended his hitting streak to seven after singling in the first inning.
Philip Matulia collected his sixth hit of the series with a single.
Reed Smith got his second start of the season. He has now pitched 9.0 innings between the two outings, allowing just six total hits and three earned runs.
LA Tech hits the road for the first time this season, traveling to Oxford, Mississippi to take on the defending national champions Ole Miss in a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Rebels are currently ranked No. 4 in the country.
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