Softball: Colonels sweep Northwestern State to move into first place

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THIBODAUX, La. – Nicholls State University pitchers Megan Landry and Emily Danehower limited Northwestern State to just a single run in each game of Saturday’s doubleheader as the Colonels swept the Lady Demons with 5-1 and 6-1 victories.

With the sweep, Nicholls moved into first place in the Southland Conference at 9-3, just head of McNeese which is 11-4. The Colonels will catch up with the rest of the league after its Tuesday-Wednesday series this week against UIW.

In game one, Landry (16-8) tossed her sixth consecutive complete game for the Colonels, accounting for the previous 41 innings in the circle. She scattered eight hits and struck out six but saw her streak of 17 straight shutout innings come to an end after Northwestern State (18-19, 9-6 SLC) pushed across a run in the fifth.

Nicholls had only four hits in the opener but took advantage of five walks and four errors by the visitors. The Colonels gained a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a Kasey Frederick sacrifice fly and a double steal.

The lead stayed at 2-0 until NSU cut it in half on Kaitlyn St. Clair’s RBI single in the fifth. But the Colonels immediately got the run back and more as Samantha Dares stroked a single to bring home two for a 4-1 lead. Melise Gossen then doubled in the inning for the final run of the game.

For Game 2, Danehower (2-0) was magnificent in her first start at Swanner Field as she fanned eight and surrendered just five hits. The lone run scored was unearned in the fifth after the Colonels jumped out to a 5-0 lead.

The fast start was aided by two NSU errors in the first inning. The Lady Demons finished with four miscues in the loss which resulted in five unearned runs. Four of the runs came in the first with Gossen driving in two with a base hit down the third base line. The last two in the first scored when Caitlin Garcia hit a shot in the gap and it popped out of the glove of Hayley Barbazon in center.

Danehower issued two walks in the first five batters she faced but then went on to strike out the next four. She added another one in the third to end the inning.

Nicholls went up 5-0 in the fourth on a Frederick single through the left side with two outs. Corynn Major led off with a base hit and stole second before coming home to score.

In the fifth, Barbazon ended the shutout with an RBI single, but once again, Nicholls got the run right back. With the bases loaded, Major reached on a fielder’s choice for the 6-1 lead. The Colonels tried to stretch the advantage on an Amanda Gianelloni single, but pinch-runner Danielle Duplay was gunned down at the plate by St. Clair in left field.

Danehower allowed three hits in the final two innings, but NSU was unable to chip into the deficit.

Dares led Nicholls at the plate with a 2-for-4 outing and two runs scored.

Nicholls continues it 13-game homestand with its makeup series against UIW. Tuesday’s doubleheader is scheduled for 4 p.m.

For the latest news on Colonel Softball, follow the team on Twitter @Nicholls_SB.

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