Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Nicholls State's Leo Vargas makes contact during a game against UL-Lafayette earlier this season. Vargas and the Colonels defeated McNeese State 6-0 on Thursday night.

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State took an early lead and got a shutout performance from pitcher Taylor Byrd en route to a 6-0 victory over McNeese State on Thursday night in the first game of the teams’ final regular-season series.

“I thought the story of the night was Nicholls’ pitching,” McNeese coach Justin Hill said. “Taylor Byrd did a really good job for them all night and limited us offensively. We also had some unfortunate plays that were not like us tonight.”

McNeese (28-24, 17-11 Southland Conference) was held to four hits or less for just the fourth time this season following an eight-inning outing from Byrd, who gave up three hits while striking out four and walking three.

Nicholls (30-24, 19-9) pounded out 13 hits and also took advantage of three McNeese errors.

Kaleb Fontenot (5-2) allowed only three earned runs despite giving up 11 hits in six innings. The sophomore right-hander struck out five batters and did not allow a walk.

“Kaleb threw the ball well tonight, even though there were some tough plays throughout the contest,” Hill said. “He continued to battle and so did our bullpen.”

The Colonels scored their first run thanks to a gift from the McNeese defense. With two outs, Nicholls designated hitter Seth Stevens reached first on a fielding error, allowing a Colonels run to score and take a 1-0 lead.

The lead grew in the bottom of the third after the Colonels used three straight singles to score catcher Christian Correa and take a 2-0 lead.

Nicholls went ahead 5-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning, which was highlighted by a two-out, two-run double from right-fielder Keith Cormier. The Colonels tacked on another run in the seventh.

The teams play again at 6 p.m. Saturday.

NORTHWESTERN STATE 4, SOUTHEASTERN 2: In Hammond, the Demons broke a 2-2 tiw with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning, then turned to reliever Cameron Brewer to nail down the first game in their season-ending series.

Northwestern State (31-22, 19-9 Southland) broke the tie when Bret Underwood tripled to right field, scoring Edwin Gomez and Garrett Logan.

Adam Oller (6-1) gave up two runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked two before he turned it over to Brewer, who picked up his third save.

HINDS CC 10, LSU EUNICE 9: In Ellisville, Mississippi, Hinds Community College scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning in the opening round of the Region 23 Tournament, dropping the Bengals into the losers bracket.

With the Bengals (41-12) up three going into the ninth, Hinds (33-18) used a two-run single to cut the lead to one before a two-run homer gave Hinds the lead and the final score.

LSU Eunice finished with 12 hits, including six total from Stefan Trosclair and Sam Walley, who each tallied three hits.

Walley had an RBI and Trosclair collected two RBIs on his two-run homer in the first inning.