BEAUMONT, Texas — Lamar University continued to put Nicholls’ pitching staff in tough positions throughout the game but the Cardinals never managed to get the key hit when they needed dropping a 4-0 decision to Nicholls on the second day of the Southland Conference Championships Thursday at Joe Miller Ballpark.
The loss ends the Cardinals’ season at 32-23.
The Cardinals outhit Nicholls, 8-7, but struggled to find the clutch hit at key moments of the game. Five different Cardinals recorded hits including multi-hit games from Tanner Wilson (2-for-3), Ethan Ruiz (2-for-4) and Josh Blankenship (2-for-4).
Hunter Hesseltine got the start for LU and went 3.1 innings allowing four runs on six hits while striking out two with three walks. He took the loss to finishing the season 4-2. Hesseltine was one of four Cardinals to take the mound Thursday for a staff that recorded four strike outs on the day.
Jacob Mayers pitched 7.1 for Nicholls allowing no runs on six hits with five strike outs to improve to 9-1.
Nicholls scored solo runs in the first two innings to take an early lead and escaped danger in the first four innings. Big Red had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs in the second but flied out into a double play as Nicholls’ right fielder made a running catch and fired a strike to home gunning down River Orsak at the plate. In the following inning, LU had the bases loaded with an out before grounding into a third to first double play. Nicholls also turned an inning-ending double play in the fourth.
Nicholls took advantage of Lamar’s inability to score in the first four innings hanging two in the bottom half of the fourth to build a four-run lead.
The Cardinals gave themselves one final shot with runners at first and second in the ninth following an error on the Nicholls’ shortstop, but Chase Gearing escaped traffic to preserve the shutout.