Nicholls falters in series opener at ACU, 10-8

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ABILENE, Texas — The Nicholls State University baseball program was unable to complete a late-inning rally Thursday evening at Abilene Christian, dropping a back-and-forth 10-8 contest to the Wildcats in the series opener at Crutcher Scott Field.

With the loss, Nicholls falls to a 27-26 overall record (13-15 Southland) on the year while ACU improves to a 24-26 mark (11-17 Southland).

Seniors Ethan Valdez and Brady Bell combined their efforts for the game’s first run in the fourth, breaking the deadlock behind an RBI single from the latter after the former reached on a hit-by-pitch and worked over to third on an errant pickoff attempt. Abilene Christian responded with vigor in the bottom half of the frame, initially taking the lead off a two-run homer before a throwing error by the Colonels resulted in two more crossing home plate, pushing the Wildcats to a 4-1 edge.

The fifth saw ACU get back on the board again, tacking on three behind back-to-back hits — a single and double, respectively — as the team surged to a 7-1 lead. With the game beginning to feel nearly out of reach, Adam Tarver managed to jolt life back into the Colonel dugout, jacking a three-run homer over the left-center wall to bring the game back within three runs, 7-4.

The Wildcats battled back in the seventh, though, regaining those three runs behind an RBI double and a sacrifice fly. Despite a late push in the eighth from the Nicholls batting order, including a Dillon Belle RBI single and an ensuing Dane Simon RBI double, ACU closed out the victory behind two trips to the bullpen.

On the mound, Trever Kilcrease (3-5) was saddled with the loss after handling the first 4.1 innings, surrendering six runs (five earned) on as many hits with one strikeout. Reliever Tyler Theriot and Peter Holland stepped in for the next 2.0 frames, combining for four runs allowed on four hits with two strikeouts. Nick Heckman closed out the final 1.2 innings of work, setting down two on strikes while giving up no runs and no hits.

The Colonels wrap up their three-game road set against Abilene Christian on Friday afternoon in a scheduled doubleheader, first pitch set for 3 p.m. With the Southland Conference Tournament looming, the Red & Gray need at least one win in the ACU series to remain in contention.

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

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