Nicholls State baseball team tops Tulane

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD.UNO's Zach Liberto, right, turns a double play as Tulane's Blake Crohan slides into second base in the fifth inning Tuesday at Turchin Stadium in New Orleans. UNO won 5-4.
Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD.UNO's Zach Liberto, right, turns a double play as Tulane's Blake Crohan slides into second base in the fifth inning Tuesday at Turchin Stadium in New Orleans. UNO won 5-4.

NEW ORLEANS — Nicholls State made sure Tulane never got comfortable.

The Colonels tossed eight pitchers at the Green Wave, keeping Tulane off balance and silencing a scuffling offense en route to a 5-3 win Tuesday night at Turchin Stadium. Only starter Grant Borne threw multiple innings, tossing two scoreless frames before handing it over to nearly the entire Nicholls State bullpen.

Kelby Langston, Zach Thiac, Jacob Rodrigue, Justin Sinibaldi, Chris Miller, Marc Picciola and Jordan McCoy took it from there, each tossing a single inning.

The win earned the Colonels (15-15) the season series against Tulane (15-16), with one game remaining between the in-state foes May 7. It marked the first time the Green Wave has lost multiple games to Nicholls in a season since 1990. The Colonels defeated Tulane 6-5 in Thibodaux on Feb. 26.

“It’s another disappointing night for us,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said. “I refuse to believe we’re not a better club than we’re showing right now.”

The Green Wave entered the night with the worst batting average in Conference USA (.246), and although it scratched out seven hits and benefited from a pair of Colonels errors, it couldn’t muster any rallies against the litany of relievers until it was too late.

Meanwhile, a thin Tulane pitching staff failed to quell the Colonels’ bats, surrendering 11 hits including six for extra bases.

Nicholls flexed its muscle early, jumping on top just two batters into the game when Leo Vargas hammered a solo home run over the left-field wall.

Vargas inflicted further damage on Tulane starter Daniel Rankin in the fifth, bumping Rankin him from the game after slapping an RBI double down the left-field line. Vargas’ shot followed Matt Richard’s triple off the wall in left-center.

Tulane made its first and only mark on the scoreboard on the strength of Brandon Boudreaux’s double in the fifth inning, knocking in Richard Carthon, who reached base via bunt to start the inning and advanced to second thanks to a balk. It tightened the score to 2-1, but it was the closest Tulane got.

“We didn’t hit a whole lot of balls hard, and we didn’t bunch hits until late,” Jones said. “I refuse to believe we’re not a better club than this. We’re going to keep working. I’m not going to give into this.”

Keith Cormier’s two-run triple off of Andrew Garner in the seventh pushed the game out of reach, plating Vargas and Brandon Jackson.

It’s Tulane’s fourth loss in its last five games and its third consecutive midweek defeat to an in-state opponent. The Green Wave will attempt to regroup on the road this weekend, traveling to Hattiesburg Miss., to face Conference USA foe Southern Miss.

“We just have to be a lot better,” senior Garrett Cannizaro said. “It’s what we’ve been saying all year, but it just hasn’t really clicked for us. Tonight was the halfway point through the season. It’s tough because we came out with a lot of energy, played well defensively and pitched good enough to win. We just couldn’t seem to get that one big hit when we needed to, and it cost us the game.”