THIBODAUX, La. – Senior starting pitcher Cole Stapler tossed his third consecutive quality start, but the Nicholls State University baseball team was outscored 5-1 in the final three innings, resulting in a 6-2 defeat to the University of New Orleans Friday night on Ben Meyer Diamond at Ray E. Didier Field.
Stapler was the tough-luck loser, falling to 6-6 as he allowed three runs and struck out six in 6.2 innings.
Nicholls (26-25, 12-13 SLC) was fronted offensively by junior third baseman Gage Teer, who finished 3-for-4.
The Privateers (25-23-1, 13-12 SLC) received six stout innings from starter Shawn Semple. Semple improved to 8-3 on the year as he scattered six hits, struck out nine and walked none. Christopher DeMayo earned his first save of the season, surrendering just two hits in the final two frames.
UNO was led at the plate by nine-hole hitter Orynn Veillon, who finished the contest with three extra-base hits and four RBIs.
The Colonels scored in the bottom of the first when junior first baseman Kyle Knauth smacked a two-out single through the right side and Teer followed with a double to the right-center field gap.
The pitchers dueled and put up zeroes for the next three frames until Veillon’s two-out triple off the bottom of the center-field wall tied the game in the top of the fifth.
The Privateers added two more runs in the top of the seventh. Dakota Dean led off the inning with a single, and Henekiah Randolph stroked a 2-2 breaking ball into the left-field corner to score Dean. With two outs, Veillon sent a full-count pitch into the left-center field gap for a double, plating Randolph to give UNO a 3-1 edge.
Sophomore second baseman Ethan Valdez found an answer in the next half-inning when he lifted the first pitch he saw over the left-field wall, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
The Privateers, however, scored three unearned insurance runs in the ninth. Seven of the eight runs scored in the contest were with two outs.
The two sides will battle again Saturday at Maestri Field with a 6 p.m. first pitch scheduled.