NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Nicholls struck for five runs in the first inning and then rode the arm of Seth Webster to a 7-2 win over Stephen F. Austin in the series opener on Thursday at Jaycees Field.
The Colonels (26-26, 13-17 SLC) did not take long to get to SFA (21-31, 14-17 SLC) starter Chase Greening, putting up four runs before the `Jacks were even able to record the second out of the game. Greening allowed one more run in the inning, but then responded by firing five scoreless innings before being tagged with his sixth loss of the year, falling to 5-6.
He struck out six and walked just one, but the five runs - three earned - in the first inning was plenty of wiggle room for Webster to work with for the Colonels. The senior right-hander threw 140 pitches, but allowed just six hits and struck out four in tossing his second complete game against the `Jacks in as many years. He allowed just two runs - one earned - and never allowed an SFA hitter to reach base with less than two outs.
The win kept alive the Colonels' hope of a berth in next week's Southland Conference Tournament, while the `Jacks remain alive despite the loss.
SFA did not have a player with a multi-hit game, although Jarid Scarafiotti managed to draw the only two walks of the game from Webster. Bobby Loveless made his lone hit count with an RBI double in the bottom of the first, while Hunter Dozier picked up an RBI of his own with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth.
Blake Bergeron and Austin Flores led the Nicholls offense with two RBI apiece, with eight of the nine Colonels in the lineup finishing with at least one hit.
The game started with Greening plunking Phillip Lyons on the second pitch of the game before an SFA error quickly put two runners on. The Colonels then proceeded to collect consecutive singles from Jeremy Hill and Bergeron, plating a pair of runs before Flores made it 4-0 with a single up the middle of his own. Daniel Zorn got the final run of the first inning with a two-out single through the right side of the infleld.
Loveless got the `Jacks on the board with a two-out double in the bottom half of the inning, but Webster then proceeded to retire 12 of the next 13 Lumberjacks he faced before SFA was finally able to put together its final real threat of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Two-out singles by Zach Benson and Rene' Moreda was followed by Dozier's RBI hit, cutting the lead to 5-2 and bringing the tying run to the plate for the only time in the game. But Webster responded by getting a hard fly out by Scarafiotti to center field, and did not allow a runner past first base for the remainder of the game.
He got two more runs of insurance in the top of the ninth on the second SFA error of the day and a run-scoring double play.
SFA will try and even the series on Friday with a scheduled 2:00 p.m. first pitch behind freshman starter Cameron Gann.