Colonels end regular season with pivotal three-game series at UCA

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CONWAY, Ark. – Winners of its last three series, the Nicholls State University baseball program looks to continue that trend to sure up its berth in the Southland Conference Tournament when it faces the University of Central Arkansas in a three-game set beginning Thursday at Bear Stadium.

Bear Stadium | Conway, Ark.
Game 1: Thursday, May 18 – 6 p.m. – at UCA | Watch | Listen | Live Stats
Game 2: Friday, May 19 – 6 p.m. – at UCA | Watch | Listen | Live Stats
Game 3: Saturday, May 20 – 1 p.m. – at UCA | Watch | Listen | Live Stats

Nicholls (28-25, 14-13 SLC) is one game behind UCA (29-23, 15-12 SLC) in the league standings. The Colonels are currently in seventh place and have the same conference record as Stephen F. Austin.

Nicholls is one game behind Lamar and one ahead of UNO. However, the Colonels hold head-to-head tiebreakers over the Cardinals, Lumberjacks and Privateers. The top-eight schools based on conference record qualify for the SLC tournament. The tie-breaker procedures are explained here.

Nicholls most recently took two out of three against UNO behind three quality starts from its starting pitchers, highlighted by a complete-game shutout from redshirt senior Mike Hanchar on the Privateers senior night. It marked Hanchar’s first career shutout and he did it while scattering six hits and striking out six. Consequently, the southpaw was named SLC Pitcher of the Week on May 15.

Junior Alex Ernestine turned in a fantastic effort Sunday, going seven strong innings as the Colonels built a 7-1 lead. Although UNO managed three runs in the final two innings to tie the game, Nicholls found a way to win in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off wild pitch.

Junior Gage Teer finished the series with a team-high six hits. The Brandon, Mississippi, native fronts the Colonels offensively in conference play, holding the top spot in slugging (.584), on-base percentage (.443), batting average (.364), RBIs (17), doubles (8) and homers (3).

Senior catcher Alex Tucker has thrown out 25 base stealers this season, the league’s most.

Sophomore Adam Tarver is the only pitcher in the Southland to rank in the top-10 in victories and saves. He currently has a 7-2 record to go along with eight saves.

The Bears are 18-8 at home this season including an 8-4 mark in league play. UCA has won its last six home games, sweeping Abilene Christian and Sam Houston State.

The Bears rank atop the conference in walks (263) and sacrifice bunts (60). Those marks rank 12th and fourth, respectively, in Division I.

Hunter Strong has the most doubles in the conference with 23 while teammate Michael Haun has accumulated an SLC-high six triples.

The Colonels are winners in four of their last six contests against UCA.

Game 1
Nicholls – RHP Cole Stapler (6-6, 3.80 ERA)
UCA – RHP Tyler Gray (5-5, 3.91 ERA)

Game 2
Nicholls – LHP Mike Hanchar (4-4, 3.63 ERA)
UCA –RHP Cody Davenport (4-3, 5.72 ERA)

Game 3
Nicholls – TBA
UCA – RHP Mark Moyer (5-3, 3.38 ERA)

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