The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

Baseball to resume conference play after seven-game hiatus

April 6, 2017

The Nicholls State University baseball team will face Sam Houston State University this weekend in a three-game series.

The Colonels (17-12, 5-4 in conference) competed against seven non-conference teams since their last Southland Conference series matchup against McNeese State University.

Although the team is beginning to experience the physical toll of the season, Head Coach Seth Thibodeaux said scheduling mid-week games have given his team the best opportunity to be sharp for the weekend series.

“Thank goodness this will be our last mid-week double. The mid-week games are so important for us to correct our mistakes, because they can carry over into the weekend games,” Thibodeaux said. “Every game in college baseball is like a playoff game, and that puts a lot of pressure on us.”

Thibodeaux said, “The team’s schedule has been jam-packed with games. At the Division I level, every team is a good team.

He said it has been a good learning experience for his players to realize that there are no handouts in baseball, and that he is excited to have some of his injured players healthy again and ready to compete against the Bearkats this weekend.

“Kyle Knauth comes back this week which is really exciting along with Gage Teer who is one-hundred percent now, and he’s had a solid week,” Thibodeaux said. “Tyler Graham is back, maybe even a little quicker than we expected. I’m really excited about that because he’s worked hard to get back and we really need him.”

Thibodeaux said it will be crucial for his junior college transfers and freshmen to transition during the second half of the season to make a difference on the field.

“I’ve coached junior college and played it too, and I understand the transition. It takes a lot for those guys to get into it and to learn how to bring it every day. It is hard, but you have to be like a professional athlete,” Thibodeaux said. “There are a couple of freshmen that I think can do a lot better for us. They’re starting to not be freshmen anymore and they’re starting to go through their growth stage.”

The Colonel bullpen has turned in a solid effort in the past week against Alcorn State University and Texas Southern University.

Daniel Goff threw 6.0 innings out of the pen to close out the first game against Alcorn, which allowed three unearned runs on three hits and striking out six.

Against TSU, Adam Tarver came in to pitch the ninth inning in the first and last games of the series. He was credited with both wins and managed a double play and lineout in the series finale.

Tarver was recognized for leading Division I baseball with five wins in 12 appearances.

“The 5 credited wins are cool, but I was just the pitcher that was in the game at the time. All the credit goes to the offense for going through in tough moments in the game,” Tarver said. “We train for tough moments all offseason, so when it’s the ninth inning and we are in a jam, it comes second-nature to us out of the pen. It’s our job to be tough.”

According to Thibodeaux, Tarver and Alex Ernestine have been standouts on the mound.

Daniel Goff and Austin Bollinger have also pitched consistently.

“I think our bullpen has been taxed the last few weeks because of the amount of games we’ve played,” Thibodeaux said. “The good thing is they’ve been developed and they’ve been working. I can see some fatigue in them, but it will even out in the next month of the season because there are less games being played and there are less innings that will be needed from them.”

When it comes to facing Sam Houston, (9-0 SLC) Thibodeaux said having strong mid-week performances against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Mississippi Valley State University will give the Colonels the positive push they need to dominate the weekend.

At the same time, Thibodeaux said there is still so much in store when it comes to Southland Conference competition beyond this weekend.

“There’s still a lot of baseball left. We’re 29 games in and we have 56 games scheduled so we have a lot to play for,” Thibodeaux said. “We’ve only played three conference weekends, so there’s a lot left on the table with seven more conference weekends to come.”

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