THIBODAUX, La. — The Southern Illinois University baseball team dropped a 7-3 decision to Nicholls State on Sunday afternoon at Ray E. Didier Field. After SIU (1-2) won on opening day, the Colonels (2-1) took the next two games of the three-game series.
"I didn't think we came out with the type of intensity needed," SIU coach Ken Henderson said. "We didn't play as hard as we needed to early, and we couldn't get things going until late in the game."
Sophomore Blake Begner (0-1) made his pitching debut for the Salukis. The Illinois Central College transfer controlled the Nicholls lineup in the early portion of the game. After four innings, he had only given up two hits and one run, which was unearned. Begner ran into trouble in the fifth inning when the he allowed a leadoff single to Mason Turner, who later scored on a two-out single from Champ Davison. Two batters later, Austin France lined a single to right center, which scored two more runners, making it a 4-0 Colonel lead.
Relief pitchers Justin Yeager, Matt DeSomer and Corey Mitson went on to pitch the remaining three innings of the game. Each pitcher gave up one run and the trio combined to punch out five batters.
Nicholls freshman starter Shane Mejia (1-0) shut down the SIU offense, allowing only three hits and one walk in six scoreless innings. In the first six innings, Southern reached scoring position just once.
The Saluki bats got going after Mejia was replaced in the seventh inning, but the four-run deficit was too much to overcome. J.T Weber hit a two-out single through the middle to score Philip Archer from second base in the top of the seventh, bringing SIU within 4-1; but in the bottom of the seventh, Nicholls responded with two more runs to extend their lead to 6-1.
SIU added their last two runs in the top of the eighth. Nikola Vasic lined a leadoff double to left field and later scored off a Ian Walters groundout. Alex Lyon then came to the plate and drilled a home run over the left field wall. It was the first home run of the season for the Salukis.
Nicholls wrapped up the game by scoring a run in the bottom of the eighth and retiring SIU in order in the top of the ninth.
The Salukis are back in action on Tuesday at Belmont. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.