THIBODAUX, La. – Senior righthander Cory Delange and two relief pitchers combined to pitch a five-hit shutout as Nicholls State (5-2) edged the Tigers (4-2) in the third and deciding game of their weekend series at Didier Field on Sunday afternoon.
After dropping the series opener by a 3-1 margin, the Colonels pulled out a 5-3 win on Saturday and won the series finale, 1-0.
Nicholls State scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning when the Colonels took advantage of the only Towson error of the series to score an unearned run.
In the sixth inning, Mike Barba led off with a bunt single to third base and he reached second base when third baseman Zach Fisher made a throwing error. Barba reached third when Phillip Lyons grounded out to first base. Designated hitter Keith Cormier’s sacrifice fly to centerfield drove in Barba with the first run of the game. It was the first run allowed by Gonnella in 11.2 innings of work this season.
When first baseman Seth Stevens doubled to right center, sophomore righthander Nick Cioffi relieved Gonnella. He struck out David Zorn to end the inning.
In the seventh inning, junior shortstop Hunter Bennett singled with two outs. But Delange struck out Fisher to end the inning. Delange pitched seven innings for the Colonels and he gave up only five hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Junior righthander Marc Picciola pitched a scoreless eighth inning before senior righthander Jordan McCoy earned his second save of the series by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Both the Tigers and the Colonels struggled to get a clutch hit through the first five innings as Gonnella and Delange exchanged shutout innings.
The Tigers squandered an opportunity to score in the third inning when Bennett singled and went to second base on a passed ball. However, Delange retired the next three hitters in a row to escape the jam.
In the bottom of the third, Matt Richard and Barba had back-to-back singles with two outs. But, Gonnella retired Lyons on a line drive to shortstop, ending the threat.
In the fourth inning, Cormier led off with a double to right centerfield. However, Cormier was stranded when Gonnella retired the next three hitters.
Barba and Cormier led Nicholls State with two hits each as the Colonels outhit the Tigers, 8-5.
The Tigers, who had their four-game winning streak snapped by Nicholls State on Saturday night, were led by Bennett, who had two hits and drew a walk.
In the three-game series, Nicholls State pitching held Towson to a .185 team batting average. Pitching dominated the series as there were only 13 runs scored in three games.
The 1-0 shutout loss marked the first time that Towson had dropped a 1-0 decision since May 1, 2007 when the Tigers lost at Maryland.
The Tigers, who travel to Duke next weekend for a three-game series, have a 4-2 record for the first time since 2004.