Nicholls drops rubber match against EIU in extras
THIBODAUX, La. — Despite playing with a lead for nearly the entire contest, the Nicholls State University baseball program (1-2, 0-0 SLC) struggled to definitively close the door on visiting Eastern Illinois (2-1, 0-0 OVC) throughout a series-deciding game three, eventually falling to a resilient Panthers squad in 10 innings by a final 3-2 mark Sunday afternoon at Ben Meyer Diamond at Ray E. Didier Field.
The Colonels managed to flip the script early compared to both of Saturday’s doubleheader games, as the Red & Gray bolted out to an early 1-0 lead with a run in the opening frame. After Eastern Illinois managed to knot the score in the third, Nicholls was quick to respond later in the fifth inning, reclaiming a one-run advantage behind a Wes Toups RBI. Unmoved by yet-another deficit, the Panthers once again tied the rubber match with a lone run in the eighth, eventually forcing extra innings where, in the 10th, Trey Sweeney secured the EIU victory behind a homer over the right-field wall.
KEY STORYLINES & STATISTICS
— With the loss, the Colonels fall to 1-2 on the young season while Eastern Illinois improves to a 2-1 mark.
— On the mound, sophomore RHP Nick Heckman composed an elite performance for the Colonels, tossing a series-best 6.1 frames with just one run allowed on six hits. Junior RHP Cade Evans initially stepped in for relief, holding on for one inning of work, before a quick succession of LHP Tyler Theriot and RHP Peter Holland took over, amassing just .1 frames. Junior LHP Joe Taylor clocked the final 2.1 innings of record, setting down three on strikes while surrendering a lone home run midway through the 10th.
— Only five Colonels managed to put bat on ball during the primarily-defensive showdown, as JUCO transfer Austin Cain led the way behind the lone multi-hit performance of the day, notching his second and third hits of the season. Meanwhile, freshman Wes Toups logged his third RBI already this year, sending home JD Davis for a then-lead claiming score early in the fifth.
With the season-opening series concluded, the Colonels continue their non-conference slate with an unusual upcoming weekend, hosting Youngstown State on Feb. 26 & 28 at Didier Field while intermittently traveling to LSU on Feb. 27 and Mar. 2 for a pair of matchups against the Tigers.
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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