MOBILE, Ala - The two teams combined for 17 runs, 35 hits and three lead changes as the Nicholls State University (16-17) and South Alabama (16-16) baseball teams battled each other on Tuesday night. However, a four-run fifth and a 7-6 lead wasn't enough for the Colonels as the Jaguars rallied with three in the bottom of the fifth for the win in a 9-8 slugfest in Mobile.
The Colonels were led by senior center fielder Bear Comer who went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Senior catcher Jason Dennis added three hits and the Colonels also saw multi-hit performances from junior DH Jeremy Hill (2-for-4, RBI, R), junior outfielder Michael LeGrange (2-for-4, R) and junior third baseman Austin Flores (2-for-3, RBI).
However, the Jaguars racked up 21 hits againt Colonel pitching, tying a season high by Nicholls opposition, to keep pace with the Colonels. Six different Jaguars recorded multi-hit games, including a 5-for-5 night from Brent Tanner.
The Colonels got on the board first as Comer drew a leadoff walk to open the game before coming around to score on an RBI single by Hill to stake Nicholls to a 1-0 lead after one half inning of play. However, South Alabama rallied in the home half against Nicholls starter Patrick Shreve, who was making his first apperance since March 12 after being sidelined with an arm injury. The Jaguars got a two-out walk from Jake Overstreet, followed by consecutive singles to bring Overstreet home and tie the game at 1-1.
The Colonels reclaimed the lead with one run each in the second and third innings. Junior third baseman Mace Krol was hit by a pitch and later came home to score on a sacrifice fly by Comer in the second. In the top of the third, Hill singled and later came home to score on an RBI double by senior right fielder Scott Moseley to put Nicholls up 3-1.
However, after Shrever retired the side in order in the second, the Jaguars struck in the third. South Alabama scored three in the third to chase Shreve and take a 4-3 lead. The Jaguars then scored two more in the fourth to expand their lead to 6-3.
However, the Colonels struck again in the fifth as the first six Nicholls batters of the inning all reached base safely. After a leadoff walk to Krol, five consecutive singles led to four Nicholls runs with Comer's single bringing home the fourth run of the inning for his second RBI of the night to put the Colonels up 7-6.
Unfortunately, for Nicholls, South Alabama refused to go quietly. The Jaguars scored three times, including a pair of unearned runs, in the bottom of the fifth to reclaim the lead and go up 9-7. The Colonels then turned to Hill, who moved from DH to pitcher, and shut the Jaguars down over the final 3.0 innings to keep Nicholls in the game.
The Colonels tried to mount a rally after being held scoreless in the sixth, seventh and eighth. A leadoff walk to senior outfielder Kasey Culverson started the top of the ninth and was followed by consecutive one-out walks to Hill and Flores. Culverson came home to score as Comer grounded into a fielder's choice to put runenrs at first and third with two outs and Nicholls down 9-8. However, with the tying run 90 feet away, South Alabama reliever Jarret Bailey struck out senior shortstop Chase Jaramillo for the final out, preserving the 9-8 win for the Jaguars.
The Colonels will now return to Thibodaux to host Central Arkansas for a three-game Southland Conference series beginning on Friday at Ray E. Didier Field.
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