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Photo by: Bailee DeHart

Amanda Gianelloni, #5 shortstop, hits the ball, bringing in the first run of the game against Southeastern University on Friday, March 24.

Softball prepares for conference tournament with two series

April 27, 2017

The Nicholls State University softball team is preparing for the Southland Conference Tournament with their final two series of the season.

Shortstop Amanda Gianelloni said Nicholls expects to win the conference tournament being that there is much more at stake than any regular season series.

“Our goal right now is just finishing out the last two conference series strong and going into the conference tournament with the best seed we can,” senior shortstop Brooke Morris said.

Freshman Samantha Mracich is expecting tough competition in her first opportunity to play in the Southland Conference Tournament.

“I expect every other team to come out better than when we played them,” outfielder Samantha Mracich said.

The first of the Colonels’ upcoming series will be against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi this weekend.

Nicholls swept Corpus Christi last season, who only managed to score in a single game.

Gianelloni recorded five hits and two runs in the matchup’s doubleheader last season.

Corpus Christi is 11-30 overall and 6-13 when away this season.

With a record of 3-15 in the Southland Conference this season, Corpus Christi sits in last place in the conference.

Nicholls, on the other hand, is 30-17 overall and 11-2 at home this season. Nicholls is currently third in the Southland Conference with a conference record of 14-7.

After playing Corpus Christi this weekend, Nicholls will travel to play Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

The Colonels are just 12-8 when playing away. Lamar is 23-24 overall, with a record of 15-6 at home.

Lamar is at fourth place, one spot behind Nicholls, with a 13-8 record in the conference.

Nicholls won the series against Lamar two games to one last season, with scores of 5-0 and 5-4 in the wins, and loss to Lamar to start the Southland Conference Tournament.

“These next few weeks of practices are vital to our success in the conference tournament,” Gianelloni said. “I just think the little things are what we need to improve on, like bunt coverages and a little bit of base running.”

With so little time left to practice this season, the members of the team said they have to focus on a few key aspects before postseason begins.

“We can always improve on defense and need to just be sharp on defense,” Mracich said.

The past two series for the Colonels came during spring break, with the next two coming during final exam time.

At a time when social life and schoolwork are at their peak, the softball team has some of their most critical games of the season.

“We have to be mentally tough and push through,” Mracich said. “We’ve been prepared all year long, so it shouldn’t be any different.”

The softball team only had to play for half of the time they were out over the break, so it gave them ample time to focus on the time they played.

“We only played three out of the six days that we were gone, and so on those days we just needed to focus on game day,” Morris said. “During these breaks you have to teach people to manage both [softball and school].”

Following their series against Lamar, the Colonels will begin postseason play in the Southland Conference Tournament.

Nicholls has only had two Southland Conference championships in its history, in 1996 and 1997.

The team that wins the Southland Conference will advance to the Division I NCAA Softball Championship.

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