BEAUMONT, Texas – After being held to a hit in an opening 8-0 loss, the Nicholls State University softball team bounced back to even the series with a 4-2 victory Friday at the LU Softball Complex.
With Friday’s split, the Colonels (34-18, 18-8) and Lamar (27-25, 17-9) will play a winner-take-all rubber match Saturday for the No. 2 seed in next week’s Southland Conference Tournament. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Game 1 – Lamar 8, Nicholls 0 (5 innings)
Lamar used three runs in the first inning to grab an early lead and the Colonels went on to suffer their first mercy-rule loss of the season with an 8-0 setback in five innings.
Brooklyn Devine was the only Colonel to register a hit in game, singling with two outs in the third. Only two runners reached base against Ciara Luna (12-14), who tossed all five innings for the victory. It was just the third time this season the Colonels have been held to three or fewer hits.
Jackie Johnson (17-11) suffered the loss, allowing six earned runs on seven hits. She surrendered three runs in the first and third innings before Lamar tacked one on it the fourth. In the fifth, Lamar’s Ashley McDowell singled to right off of reliever Sydney Council to drive in the final run of the game, ending it at 8-0.
Lamar finished with eight hits, led by two each by Kelly Meeuwsen and Sable Hankins.
Game 2 – Nicholls 4, Lamar 1
Sophomore Veronica Villafranco put Nicholls ahead with a two-run double in the sixth inning and Megan Landry tossed a complete game as the Colonels evened the series against Lamar with a 4-2 victory.
Nicholls had 13 hits in the victory but was trailing 1-0 after five innings. The Colonels used four hits in the sixth, including Villafranco’s run-scoring double, to take the lead for good.
In the seventh, the Colonels added two more runs, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Brooke Morris and another RBI hit from Villafranco. With a 4-1 lead, the insurance runs turned out to needed as Landry walked four batters in the bottom of the seventh to make it a two-run game. But with two down and the bases loaded, Landry forced Kelly Meeuwsen to flyout to deep right to end the game.
Villafranco was one of five Colonels to register a multi-hit game. Sydney Bourg, Samantha Mracich, Kasey Frederick and Gretchen Morgan each singled twice. Most of the damage came against Ciara Luna (12-15), who allowed seven hits and all four runs in two innings of relief.
Landry (13-7) struggled with her control with a season-high eight walks, but allowed only two hits and struck out five. Her first run came on a sac fly after walking two in the first inning. Lamar did not score again until Landy’s bases loaded walk to Sable Hankins in the seventh.