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Baseball plans to improve after disappointing finish
June 16, 2017
The Nicholls State University baseball team missed the Southland Conference Tournament for the second year in a row with a 29-27 overall record this season.
This was the first time since the 2012 and 2013 seasons that the Colonels missed the postseason two consecutive seasons. Only one spot out of the postseason, Nicholls finished with a conference record of 15-15.
“It’s the most pain I’ve ever felt as a head coach,” Nicholls coach Seth Thibodeaux said. “I was disgusted.”
Nicholls was just a win or two out of the tournament, as the team was not ousted until they lost their final matchup of the regular season, losing two out of three games against the University of Central Arkansas. The No. 8 University of New Orleans and the No. 7 Lamar University were only a game ahead of Nicholls with conference records of 16-14, while the No. 6 Stephen F. Austin State University and the No. 4 Central Arkansas were two games ahead at 17-13.
“I’m disappointed because losing at the end and not finishing is not what we worked on, and really is very uncharacteristic of our team and our program,” Thibodeaux said. “I think every year we’re a top four team in our league, but at some point, our players are going to have to believe that, too.”
Some of the team’s members found positives to build on in the future, even with the disappointing end to the season, including a home record of 21-9.
“I think we played great defense this season,” junior infielder Joey Morales said.
Sophomore Adam Tarver said he felt that the team played great defense and pitched well, and that their offense produced more than it had in the past, yet the team was never able to get all three elements to click at the same time.
“We just need to play Nicholls’ style of baseball and all of that should fall into place,” Tarver said.
Moving forward, both the coach and his players said that their goal is to win the Southland Conference Tournament and make a run in the NCAA Tournament, but improvements needed to be made first.
“[We] just need to realize that every game is important to play, that every game really matters,” Tarver said.
Along with further improving what will remain of this season’s team, the Nicholls baseball squad views it is necessary to teach the new players and get them up to speed.
“I heard we have a good group of guys coming in, so when they step here day one in the fall, [we have to show] leadership and we shouldn’t have a problem getting them on pace,” Morales said.
Thibodeaux echoed what Morales said, specifying that good leadership would be essential to the team’s success moving forward.
“Incoming guys are all position players that we’re really going to count on this year, but those guys are going to do what their leaders push them to do,” Thibodeaux said. “If our leaders go in and show them the way right away, then we have a chance at winning the Southland Conference.”