Nicholls run-rules Southern Illinois in softball season opener, 9-0

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HAMMOND, La. – Sophomore Jewel Lara hit a grand slam and drove in five, transfer Caitlin Garcia added a 3-run homer and Megan Landry tossed a shutout as the Nicholls State University softball team run-ruled Southern Illinois, 9-0, in five innings Friday in the Lion Classic to begin the 2019 season.

Lara, who was named Southland Freshman of the Year and First Team last season, accounted for the first five runs of the game. Her grand slam, which was her first career homer, came in the second inning after Southern Illinois (0-1) walked the bases loaded. She added a run-scoring double in the fourth and scored on a Kelsey Miller single.

Leading 6-0 in the fifth, the Colonels put runners on via an Emma Holland singled and an Amanda Gianelloni double. Garcia, a transfer from Louisiana-Lafayette, then ended the game with a walk-off 3-run home run.

Senior Megan Landry picked up the win, tossing all five innings while allowing four hits and struck out four. She worked herself out of a jam in the third after the Salukis placed two on base on a single and a fielder’s choice. With no outs, Landry notched a strikeout and retired the next two to preserve the 4-0 lead.

In the fourth, she allowed a one-out double but the defense came up with a big play to end the threat. Gianelloni snagged a liner at short and turned a double play with a toss to Holland at second base.

The Colonels totaled seven hits against SIU, which is coming off a 30-win campaign. Brianna Jones was tagged with the loss after walking two of the runners who scored on Lara’s grand slam. She lasted 1.1 innings, serving up only a leadoff infield single by Samantha Mracich.

SIU was led on offense by Maris Boelens who was 2-for-2.

The Colonels and Salukis square off again on Saturday at 1 p.m. Nicholls will then play San Jose State at 5:30 p.m. A live stream and stats are available for the night cap.

Admission to all Colonel home games at the Swanner Field is free of charge. Nicholls makes its home debut next Wednesday (Feb. 13) against Southern Miss.

The Colonel softball team can be followed all season long on Twitter @Nicholls_SB.

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