Softball: Nicholls seniors close storied careers in championship loss to Sam Houston

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Nicholls vs. SHSU SLC softball championship

NATCHITOCHES, La. – The 2019 Nicholls State University softball senior class saw their careers come to an end in heart-breaking fashion as the Colonels broke a scoreless tie in the sixth against top-seed Sam Houston State before the Bearkats answered with two home runs to hand Nicholls a 2-1 loss in the Southland Conference Tournament championship round.

Similar to last year, Nicholls (34-22) led late in the title match as senior Amanda Gianelloni hit a solo home run over the right-center wall for the game’s first run. With the Colonels five outs away from forcing a Game 2, Sam Houston’s Tiffany Thompson tied the game on a solo homer. The next batter, Brooke Malia, followed with another homer for a 2-1 Bearkat lead.

In the seventh, Caitlin Garcia led off with a single up the middle and pinch-runner Bailey Hughes moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. But the Colonels had trouble producing runs against Sam Houston’s Lindsey McLeod (21-8) all day, who struck out Melise Gossen before getting Gretchen Morgan to fly out to end the game.

Megan Landry (27-12) suffered the loss, allowing six hits including the two solo home runs. The senior finished her career with the most wins in school history (80) and saw her career ERA drop to 1.99.

McLeod gave up five hits and struck out nine for the Bearkats. Nicholls put the lead runner on against the Southland Pitcher of the Year four times, but she was able to escape each inning.

Samantha Mracich went 2-for-2 for the Colonels, while Samantha Dares added a single.

Gianelloni’s homer was the first hit for the senior in the postseason, and she finished with the career record in RBIs with 125. Classmate Kasey Frederick broke the previous RBI record with 124 in Thursday’s late-night win over McNeese and finishes second all-time. The two also finish ranked on the all-time home run list, with Frederick tied for fourth (23) and Gianelloni finishing sixth (21).

The Colonels claimed runners-up in the Southland Tournament for the third consecutive year. Nicholls ended McNeese’s three-year run as postseason champions with a victory last night. Sam Houston’s title is the first for the Bearkats since 2007.

ALL-TOURNAMENT — Nicholls had four players named to the 2019 Southland All-Tournament Team:

Pitcher – Megan Landry
Catcher – Kali Clement
Third Base – Caitlin Garcia
Outfield – Kasey Frederick

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