BEAUMONT, Texas – The Nicholls State University softball team received another strong outing from sophomore Megan Landry and the offense put together two runs in sixth to grab the lead as the Colonels earned the No. 2 seed in the Southland Conference Tournament with a 3-2 victory over Lamar in Saturday’s finale at the LU Softball Complex.
With the win, Nicholls finishes the regular season at 35-18 overall and 19-8 in the Southland. The series victory over Lamar (27-26, 17-10) gives the Colonels the tiebreaker for the No. 2 seed in next week’s Southland Conference Tournament. The top two teams receive a bye in Wednesday’s opening day of action, with the Colonels scheduled to play at 4 p.m.
Nicholls looked on its way to being the No. 3 seed after trailing 2-0 heading into the fifth, but the Colonels got one back in the frame on a sacrifice fly by Jessica Taylor. In the next inning, Nicholls took advantage of two hit-by-pitches and two errors to even the game at 2-2 before Amanda Gianelloni drove home Syndey Bourg on a sac fly to give Nicholls a 3-2 lead.
Landry, who allowed two runs to score in the fourth on a two-double by Maddy Myers, went on to dominate the rest of the way by retiring the final 10 batters to wrap up her three-hit complete game. Landry was also the winner in Friday night’s victory after allowing just two hits. She wraps up her stellar sophomore campaign with a 14-7 record, a 2.53 ERA and 141 strikeouts.
Nicholls out-hit Lamar, 10-3, and was able to take advantage of five Cardinal errors. The Colonels were flawless on defense, recording no miscues for the 25th time this season.
The offense featured three players with two hits – Samantha Mracich, Kasey Frederick and Brooke Morris. Nicholls had opportunities to score early but had two runners thrown out at the plate before breaking through in the fifth.
The inning was setup by a leadoff double by Gianelloni. Frederick then found a gap through the left side to move Gianelloni to third and Taylor drove a ball deep enough to left field to allow Gianelloni to score.
In the sixth, Morris was hit by a pitch by reliever Laura Napoli (11-10) and was nearly doubled up on the next play. Brooklyn Devine lined a rocket to third that was caught by Sable Hankins, but she threw the ball away at first trying to turn the double play. Morris advanced all the way to third on the throwing error.
Bourg was then hit by a pitch and Mracich followed up with an infield single to third. But once again, Hankins’ throw to first was off the mark and Morris came home to score to even the game at 2-2. The next batter, Gianelloni, skied a flyball to right and Bourg beat the throw home to give Nicholls a 3-2 advantage.
In the bottom of the seventh, Landry retired the first batter on a groundout to second before picking up her third strikeout of the game. The final out came on a foul ball behind the plate that Veronica Villafranco snagged at the net.
Nicholls will enter the postseason as the No. 2 seed for the second consecutive year. The Colonels will play the winner of No. 3 Lamar vs. the No. 6 seed, which is still to be determined. This year’s tournament will be held in Conway, Arkansas and begins on Wednesday, May 10.
For the latest news on Colonel softball, follow the team on Twitter @Nicholls_SB.