Nicholls State wasn’t looking ahead when it took on Southern on Wednesday night at Lee-Hines Field.
But the Colonels were thinking back.
They didn’t look past the Jaguars to their Southland Conference race because they remembered Southern beating them 5-2 on April 1 in Thibodaux. They made sure nothing close to that happened in the rematch by scoring three runs in both the first and second innings and five in the third.
The result was a 13-2 win in a game stopped after seven innings because of the mercy rule.
“Last night when we had practice, we talked a lot about enjoying every single inning and not looking ahead and not worrying about something that needs to happen three weeks from now,” said Nicholls coach Seth Thibodaux, whose team is tied for first in the Southland. “They got us at our place a couple of weeks ago, and it really took a little stinger to us.
“They played really well against us, and we didn’t play our best game. That feeling didn’t leave us, so it was good to come out here with some aggression and get it done. Our guys were totally focused and came out and threw some punches early.”
Southern starter Ryan Flynn, who allowed one hit in four innings in the first meeting, was roughed up from the start.
He walked Philip Lyons to start the game and Leo Vargas and Keith Cormier followed with consecutive singles for a 1-0 lead. After a walk and a strikeout, Tyler Duplantis reached on shortstop Phillips Williams’ fielding error, which allowed the second run to score. Flynn’s wild pitch sent home a third run.
Justin Holt and Lyons led off the second with consecutive walks and Vargas beat out a bunt. Cormier and Seth Stevens hit RBI-grounders and Duplantis hit an RBI-single.
Flynn started the third by allowing a single to Christian Correa and a walk to Holt. Reliever Victor Ilarraza walked Lyons and threw a wild pitch that sent Correa home.
Vargas hit a sacrifice fly, and Cormier tripled home Lyons. Stevens’ grounder sent home Cormier and consecutive doubles by Charles Morton and Duplantis made it 11-0.
“As bad as things look, you want to be as positive as you can,” Southern outfielder D.J. Wallace said. “I was still trying to stay positive for the most part but looking over my right shoulder in right field at the scoreboard and seeing the top of the first innings … it just wasn’t in our favor tonight.”
Cormier and Duplantis each had two of Nicholls’ 10 hits and both drove in three runs. The Colonels also made Southern pitchers pay for allowing 12 walks.
“The pitchers didn’t give us a chance,” Jaguars coach Roger Cador said. “You’re not going to win any game walking 12.
“The one thing I tried to impress upon them was that the park was playing so big tonight — a humid night with no wind, the ball isn’t going anywhere. But our concentration for throwing strikes wasn’t there.”
After the mercy rule kicked in, the Jaguars (7-22) started looking ahead to a doubleheader against Grambling on Saturday at Lee-Hines Field. The Colonels (22-20) were free to look ahead to their series opener against UNO on Friday in Thibodaux.