*Courtesy Southland Conference Sports Information
LAKE CHARLES, La. — Top seed Nicholls earned its first Southland Conference Baseball Championship title since 1998 with a 6-3 win over fourth seed New Orleans on Saturday afternoon.
The Colonels earn the Southland’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament and make the school’s fourth all-time appearance in the tournament and first since 1998. Nicholls will take a 34-22 record into the NCAA Tournament. New Orleans’ season ends with a 36-24 record.
New Orleans opened the scoring in the top of the fifth inning, as Jorge Tejeda hammered a two-run homer to left center, also scoring Jeissy De la Cruz.
The Colonels answered with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth. Garrett Felix drew a walk and MaCrae Kendrick was hit by a pitch to force a pitching change. Wes Toups doubled to score the first run, followed by a two-run double by Kaden Amundson to make it 3-2.
Nicholls extended the lead in the bottom of the sixth after loading the bases with one out. Felix drove in two runs with a double down the right field line, then Kendrick hit a single through the left side to push the lead to 6-2.
The Privateers brought one run back in the top of the ninth on a solo homer by Miguel Useche, but Cade Evans got three straight outs to slam the door and earn the save. His three-pitch strikeout of Tejeda set off the Colonel celebration.
For Nicholls, Michael Quevedo earned the win on the mound with 5.0 innings pitched, allowing two runs on five hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Nico Saltaformaggio pitched 3.0 innings of relief, only allowing a run on the Useche homer – the only run allowed by the Nicholls bullpen in the tournament.
Amundson went 2-for-3 with the two-run double and Edgar Alvarez went 2-for-4. Xane Washington was named the Tournament MVP with a .429 average for the tournament, going 6-for-14 with a .550 on-base percentage.
For New Orleans, Tejeda went 3-for-4 with the two-run homer. The Privateers used five pitchers, with Jacob Mead hit with the loss, allowing the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth.
MVP – Xane Washington, Nicholls
Jacob Mayer, Nicholls
Edgar Alvarez, Nicholls
Kaden Amundsen, Nicholls
Brandon Mitchell, New Orleans
Tyler Bischke, New Orleans
Jorge Tejeda, New Orleans
Issac Williams, New Orleans
Bo Willis, Northwestern State
Broch Holmes, Northwestern State
Josh Leslie, McNeese
Grant Rogers, McNeese