Taylor heroics pace Nicholls to early win, Lamar responds for split
BEAUMONT, Texas — After kicking off the weekend with a doubleheader split on Saturday, the Nicholls State University baseball program (16-19, 11-9 SLC) managed to recreate a near-identical experience during the twin bill finale against Lamar (17-13, 9-11 SLC) on Sunday afternoon at Vincent-Beck Stadium, initially utilizing some relief heroics from Joe Taylor to outlast the Cardinals in game three, 3-2, before dropping the series conclusion by a 5-2 margin following an early offensive surge.
Despite Lamar bolting out to a quick one-run advantage through the first inning, the Colonels responded later in the third with some offense of their own, knotting the score on a solo homer from sophomore Austin Cain — his first donning the Red & Gray — before a two-RBI double from redshirt junior Justin Ory pushed Nicholls out in front. The Cardinals fought back in a thrilling final three frames, notching one run and stranding six men in scoring position as the Colonel bullpen was consistently called upon to escape trouble; notably, the Red & Gray placed all their chips on junior Joe Taylor across the final 1.2 innings, who rewarded the team’s faith with a shutdown performance en route to his seventh save of the season.
The day’s second contest saw a revived Lamar offense once again find its rhythm early on, plating four runs through the opening two frames while the Colonels struggled to push just one across. A solo shot from freshman Wes Toups later in the fourth helped Nicholls climb back within reach, but the Cardinals reclaimed their three-run edge before sealing the win behind a solid showing from the pitching staff.
KEY STORYLINES & STATISTICS
— With the split, the Colonels improve to 16-19 overall for the season along with an 11-9 mark in Southland competition; meanwhile, Lamar moves to a 17-13 mark on the year with a 9-11 record in league play.
— Following a solid outing just a week ago in the Red & Gray’s lone victory against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, freshman Devin Desandro (3-1) delivered once again behind a brilliant 4.1 innings of work, surrendering just two runs on six hits while setting down one batter on strikes. Additionally, fellow freshman Nico Saltaformaggio along with senior Beau Balado combined for 1.0 frame on the rubber, giving up just one hit for zero runs scored.
— The latter half of the doubleheader proved more dicey for the Colonels on the mound, as sophomore starter Nick Heckman (1-5) registered his fourth consecutive loss with four runs allowed on seven hits through 2.1 innings. In relief, Saltaformaggio, Balado and junior Cade Evans — all of whom saw action in game three — contributed 4.2 frames with one run surrendered on five hits before sophomore Josh Mancuso handled the entirety of the ninth with no runs given up on zero hits.
— Offensively, Cain concluded his stellar weekend with another two hits, officially posting at least one in every game of the series, while Ory and Toups rounded out the day with a combined five hits for four RBIs.
With the Lamar series closed out, the Red & Gray continue the eight-game road stretch with a series at Northwestern State this upcoming weekend, matching wits against the Demons from Friday, Apr. 23 through Sunday, Apr. 25 up in Natchitoches, La.
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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