The Nicholls State University baseball team tried to mount an eighth-inning comeback in Friday’s season opener, but the Stony Brook Seawolves had other thoughts.
Stony Brook used a three-run sixth inning to take the lead for good and held on for a 6-5 win in the season opener for both teams at Ben Meyer Diamond at Ray E. Didier Field in Thibodaux.
Alex Ernestine got off to a strong start with a three-up, three-down inning for the Colonels (0-1 overall), and the offense responded in the bottom half of the inning by scoring on an error for a 1-0 lead.
Stony Brook (1-0) tied the game in the top of the third inning on Brandon Janofsky’s two-out RBI single. The Seawolves scored two more runs in the top of the fourth for a 3-1 lead. Bobby Honeyman drove in both runs with an RBI single up the middle.
Nicholls answered in the bottom of the fourth when Brady Bell hit into a fielder’s choice to drive in a run. The Colonels then took a 4-3 lead Champ Davison hit a chopper back to the pitcher, but the throw to first base was wild leading to two more runs.
“We came out ready to play, but there were a couple of key moments in the game that we let slip away and let them win,” Nicholls coach Thibodeaux said. “We allowed them to scratch that three-run spot (inning) up. We can’t give up three-run innings, especially in the middle of the game like that. We had some opportunities to score and didn’t do it, but that’s a typical Friday night game at this level.”
The Seawolves retook the lead in the sixth inning after Bobby Honeyman (2-for-4, three RBIs) hit an RBI triple. Rick Grande followed with a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Honeyman making the score 5-4. With two outs, Brandon Alamo added a solo home run for a 6-4 lead.
Nicholls tried to mount a comeback in the eighth inning. Ethan Valdez (4-for-4) hit a single to move pinch hitter Dane Simon over into scoring position with one out creating. Chet Niehaus drew a walk to load the bases and leading to a Stony Brook pitching change. Pinch hitter Lee Clark hit a sacrifice into the left-center gap, allowing Simon to tag from third to make the score 6-5.
“That’s the key to college baseball … you either make a play or you don’t,” Thibodeaux said. “It was a great at bat by Lee Clark off the bench to score a run. I’d like to maybe have that inning back and see if we could have done a little more. We competed and gave our chance a win tonight though, and that’s all I can ask of my guys.’
Stony Brook relief pitcher Aaron Pinto closed the door on the Colonels in the ninth inning striking out two to earn the save.
“Pinto has shut down stuff, we’re lucky to have him,” Stony Brook coach Matt Senk said. “Our left fielder made a terrific catch in the eighth then Aaron took care of business in the ninth.”
Relief Pitcher Cole Creighton who came on in the fifth inning earned the win for Stony Brook.
Jacob Bedevian took the loss in relief for the Colonels.
“We gave them a couple of runs early on by not taking care of the ball sooner,’ Senk said. “It wouldn’t have been as tough down the stretch, but we kept competing.”