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Nicholls softball finishes with 3-2 mark at Lion Classic

The Nicholls State University softball team took down San Jose State for the second straight time, but the Colonels came up short in closing out the Lion Classic with a 2-0 day as they fell in the finale against Northern Illinois Sunday at North Oak Park.
The Colonels finish opening weekend with a 3-2 record. They split with Southern Illinois, swept San Jose State University and lost the only meeting with Northern Illinois. The win against San Jose State Sunday was head coach Angel Santiago's 200th of his career — all at Nicholls.
Nicholls 4, San Jose State 2 (Sunday)
Amanda Gianelloni and Kennedy Hebert each drove in two runs, and it was more than enough for Alexis LaBure, who tossed all seven innings as Nicholls defeated San Jose State 4-2.
LaBure (1-1) was spotted a four-run lead before the Spartans cut the deficit in half with two in the sixth. With the bases loaded, she allowed one to come in on a wild pitch, and San Jose State added the other on a fielder's choice.
For the offense, the Colonels had seven hits with Gianelloni and Melise Gossen tallying two each. Gianelloni gave Nicholls a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI double to left. In the second, Gossen and Jewel Lara singled to set up a two-run double by Hebert, a freshman and Morgan City High alum.
Gianelloni added another run in the fifth on a fielder's choice, scoring Emma Holland.
Northern Illinois 2, Nicholls 1 (Sunday)
Megan Landry struck out 10 in a complete game effort, but a first-inning homer by Northern Illinois led the Huskies to a 2-1 victory to close the Lion Classic.
Nicholls was held to four hits against two NIU pitchers, scoring only once in the fifth on a two-out single by Holland. The Colonels put the leadoff runner on base in four of the first five innings; however, they were retired in order in the sixth and seventh.
Landry (2-1) suffered the loss, allowing five hits in six innings.
Southern Illinois 7, Nicholls 6 (Saturday)
Gianelloni powered Nicholls to a 4-0 early lead behind a two-run homer and a run-scoring double, but Southern Illinois scored the next seven runs and held off a comeback to knock off the Colonels, 7-6.
Trailing 7-4, Samantha Dares hit a two-run home run in the sixth to pull Nicholls within a run. In the seventh, the Colonels drew two walks, but SIU's Brianna Jones struck out two to end the game.
Hebert finished 1-for-1 for Nicholls.
Nicholls 3, San Jose State 2 (Saturday)
San Jose State used two solo home runs in the fourth to break a scoreless tie before Nicholls plated three runs, highlighted by a run-scoring single by Veronica Villafranco in the seventh, for a 3-2 victory.
Caitlin Garcia hit her second home run in as many days, cutting the deficit in half in the fifth. The Colonels then took advantage of a Spartan fielding error after Villafranco reached on a single. The next batter, Lara, tied the game with a single to left center.
In the sixth, San Jose State threatened to take the lead with a one-out double, but Landry (2-0) fanned the next two batters to keep the game tied.
The late-inning heroics in the seventh started on a Kasey Frederick single, and a miscue by the right fielder allowed her to move into scoring position. Villafranco then delivered a hard single in the gap in left center, and Frederick raced home for a 3-2 lead.
Landry quickly disposed of San Jose State in the seventh, retiring the lineup in order for the second complete game.
Landry struck out seven in the win and surrendered six hits.
Villafranco was the lone Colonel with a multi-hit effort.
Nicholls 9, Southern Illinois 0 (Friday)
Lara hit a grand slam and drove in five, Garcia added a three-run homer and Landry tossed a shutout as the Nicholls State University softball team run-ruled Southern Illinois 9-0 in five innings Friday in the Lion Classic to begin the 2019 season.
Lara, who was named Southland Freshman of the Year and First Team last season, accounted for the game’s first five runs. Her grand slam, which was her first career homer, came in the second inning after Southern Illinois walked the bases loaded. She added a run-scoring double in the fourth and scored on a Kelsey Miller single.
Leading 6-0 in the fifth, the Colonels put runners on via a Holland single and a Gianelloni double. Garcia, a Louisiana-Lafayette transfer, then ended the game with a walk-off three-run home run.
Landry earned the win, tossing all five innings while allowing four hits and struck out four. She escaped a jam in the third after the Salukis placed two on base on a single and a fielder's choice. With no outs, Landry notched a strikeout and retired the next two to preserve the 4-0 lead.

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