Colonels to face No. 5 UL-Lafayette in midweek
After winning its conference-opening series, the Nicholls State University baseball team will step back out of Southland Conference play with a home-and-home two-game set against the 5th-ranked Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, starting tonight in Lafayette with a 6 p.m. first pitch.
The Colonels (10-10) then will host ULL (17-2) Wednesday, also at 6 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on the airways, with KTIB 640 AM carrying Tuesday’s game and KNSU 91.5 FM taking Wednesday’s contest.
Nicholls heads into the series coming off a 7-5 15-inning loss to Houston Baptist Saturday night, but the Colonels won the first two games to clinch the series. Behind two solid outings from starters Taylor Bird and Grant Borne, the Colonels won Friday night, 4-2, before winning the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, 5-3.
Senior shortstop Leo Vargas had a notable week at the plate, batting .467 (7-for-15) with four runs, two stolen bases and he hit safely in all four contests to extend his on-base streak to nine games. Vargas leads the Colonels with a .314 average and 16 runs scored.
Scheduled to start on the mound for the Colonels are southpaw Mike Hanchar (0-1, 1.29 ERA) today and right-hander Brandon Jackson (1-1, 2.12) Wednesday. Hanchar has been the Colonels’ Tuesday night guy so far this season. His lone loss came last week at No. 3 LSU where he surrendered two runs on two hits in five innings.
Jackson’s last outing came March 7 against BYU, as he took the loss after allowing 10 hits, three earned runs and struck out five in six innings.
The Ragin’ Cajuns head into the series on a seven-game winning streak after they swept in-state rival ULM. In the series’ finale, ULL plastered the Warhawks 21-2 behind 22 hits.
ULL’s last loss came March 2 against then-ranked No. 21 Alabama but not before taking the first two games against the Crimson Tide.
The Ragin’ Cajuns have three wins against ranked opponents, including a 4-1 win against LSU.
ULL posts a .296 batting average, led by Blake Trahan with a .373 average. Jace Conrad is one of two Cajuns with four home runs this year, and he leads the team with 20 RBIs.
On the mound, ULL has a team 2.30 ERA and 135 strikeouts. Probable starters for the matchups against the Colonels are Matt Plitt (1-0, 1.88 ERA) and left-hander Ryan Wilson (1-0, 2.79).
Following the series against ULL, Nicholls will head to Beaumont, Texas, for a three-game set at Lamar. Friday’s opener is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.