The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

Softball continues conference play against Abilene

April 6, 2017

After splitting a doubleheader against the University of Central Arkansas last Friday and picking up another win on Saturday, the Nicholls State University softball team will play on the road again against Abilene Christian University.

The Colonels will travel to play Abilene Christian University (11-1 in conference), tied with McNeese State University for first in the Southland Conference, this weekend.

“I think we can expect some really tough games, and I think we expect to see our team grow a little bit this weekend,” Nicholls pitcher Jackie Johnson said.

“It’s a good team all around. It’ll probably be one of our tougher match-ups, and I think this will be one of our big tests,” Nicholls shortstop Brooke Morris said. “I think if we come out victorious, it’ll really give us motivation to go out against McNeese next weekend.”

It will be the first time the Colonels play Abilene in the conference, as Abilene rejoined the Southland Conference in 2013.

Abilene is 11-1 in the conference and is 10-2 at home. Nicholls, on the other hand, is 7-5 away this season.

The Colonels lost their first game on Friday 6-1, as catcher Moriah Strother earned the only run.

The Colonels struck out a season-high nine times against Central Arkansas pitcher Kayla Gomness.

“It was an eye opener for us. It wasn’t a close one, and we’re not used to that,” Nicholls shortstop Brooke Morris said. “One of our goals this season is to not lose two conference games in a row.”

Nicholls bounced back after the loss and won 3-1 Friday night in eight innings.

Outfielder Samantha Mracich tallied two hits and two runs in the win, as Nicholls pitcher Jackie Johnson struck out six and only allowed three hits.

“We had to recollect ourselves and restart our day,” Johnson said. “We know that we can compete with anybody in our conference, and that if we play our game we’ll be successful.”

The Colonels beat Central Arkansas 3-1 again on Saturday, as Mracich recorded three hits and shortstop Amanda Gianelloni recorded two hits and an RBI.

After putting up poor numbers against Gomness on Friday, the Colonels tallied nine hits against her during Saturday’s game.

Johnson struck out seven and only allowed four hits.

“Jackie did really well the second and third game. Our offense struggled all weekend, but it helped maintain our lead since Jackie did so well,” Morris said.

After playing four of their nine Southland Conference series and earning a conference record of 10-2 this season, Nicholls earned the second spot in the conference rankings.

The team is only one game behind the two teams tied for first place.

“To get that top spot, we just need to clean up our game. It’s just going to take that extra push from everybody,” Johnson said.

First pitch against Abilene is set for 6 p.m. this Friday in Abilene, Texas.

The Colonels will follow up that game on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at noon.

“We need to make all of our outs count in a positive way. Even if you get an out, make it a ground ball to move a runner. I think sometimes we make it fly a little too much,” Morris said.

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