Nicholls drops series finale to HBU, 6-2

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THIBODAUX, La. — Despite maintaining a two-score advantage for nearly the entire contest, the Nicholls State University baseball program (11-12, 8-4 SLC) never managed to recover after surrendering a late six runs to Houston Baptist (5-18, 3-9 SLC) in the four-game series finale, eventually falling by a final 6-2 margin to the visiting Huskies on Sunday afternoon at Ben Meyer Diamond at Ray E. Didier Field.

Offensively, the Red & Gray were completely contained outside of senior Dillon Belle, who jacked a pair of solo shots — his first homers of the season — on back-to-back at-bats in the second and fifth innings. Bolstered by an initially-brilliant performance from starter Nick Heckman, the Colonels rolled into the eighth just six outs short of clinching the series; the Huskies, however, battled back with some power hitting of their own, knotting the score on consecutive RBI singles before a three-run blast (along with a Red & Gray error) pushed HBU out ahead for the first time, capping the contest an inning later for the 6-2 victory.

KEY STORYLINES & STATISTICS
— With the loss, the Colonels fall back just below .500 (11-12) for the season along with a Southland second-best 8-4 mark within league play; meanwhile, Houston Baptist improves to a 5-18 record overall along with a 3-9 position in conference competition.
— On the mound, Heckman (1-2) proved more than capable through 7.0 full frames, setting down four batters on strikes while giving up no runs on five hits; a rough opening to the eighth, though, saw Houston Baptist notch three hits off the right-hander for one run before the Red & Gray turned to senior Beau Balado for relief. The southpaw struggled, however, allowing an RBI single to tie the game before a big connection sent three home for the HBU lead. Junior Cade Evans took over immediately after, surrendering one unearned run due to an error before wrapping up the inning.

UP NEXT
With the first three series of Southland play concluded, the Red & Gray receive a few days away from action before shifting back to non-conference competition for Easter weekend, hosting UT Martin from Thursday, Apr. 1 through Saturday, Apr. 3 at Ray E. Didier Field.

STAY SOCIAL
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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