THIBODAUX – After nearly doubling both its 2008 overall and Southland Conference win totals in 2009, the Nicholls State University baseball team has continued to build momentum during the summer.
Scattered across the country and continent, the Colonels have produced some of the more impressive performances in some of the game’s most prestigious collegiate summer baseball leagues.
Highlighting the offseason is the fact that the Colonels top two returning pitchers have continued to dominate on the summer circuits.
Senior southpaw Jarret Dunnam, who turned in a stellar 3.80 earned run average (30 ER/71.0 IP) in 2008 has continued to improve as a member of the independent San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Blues. Playing against a competitive schedule that includes teams from the highly-regarded California Collegiate League, Dunnam has posted a 5-0 record with a 2.53 ERA. The Saraland, Ala. native has limited opponents to a .228 batting average while posting 26 strikeouts in 32.0 IP to average 7.3 K/9.0 IP.
Meanwhile, in the Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas league, senior right hander Tyler Minto has limited the MINK League to .182 opponent batting average en route to a 5-1 record and a miniscule 0.65 ERA in 41.2 IP. Minto’s lone loss as a member of the Chillicothe Mudcats came in a complete game in which he took a 1-0 defeat.
Minto has benefitted from the defense of senior backstop Jason Dennis, who has allowed just one stolen base in 20 games with the Mudcats.
“The best part of the summer is that our top two pitchers are doing nothing but improving,” assistant coach Seth Thibodeaux said. “Minto has dominated a great league, and Dunnam has improved every time he’s stepped on the mound. Having those two pitching like that is great for us, because we’re going to expect a lot out of them as seniors.”
Also turning heads is junior right hander Drew Erwin who has made great strides coming out of the bullpen for the Thunder Bay Border Cats in the prestigious Northwoods League. Erwin leads the league with 22 apperances and has held opponents to a .249 average while striking out 17 batters in 27.1 IP for the Ontario, Canada-based club.
Back stateside, in Illinois and Missouri’s Prospect League, sophomore lefty Brad Delatte is looking to get more innings in preparation for his second stint with the Colonels. Delatte has shone brightly in eight appearances for the Hannibal (Mo.) Cavemen, stiking out 12 batters in 11.1 IP for a 9.73 K/9.0 IP ratio.
In the Kentucky-Indiana-Tennessee League, sophomore infielder Beau Falk has shown an improved ability to reach base with a .363 OBP and a .273 average. Falk has also shown surprising speed on the basepaths, swiping six bags for the Tradewater (Ky.) Pirates in the Kitty League.
Closer to home, a quartet of Colonel infielders have been the driving force of the Houma Hogs’ offense. Senior middle infielder Brady Bourque boasts a .297 average and six steals. Senior corner infielder Zach Tisdale has hit at a .327 clip with three home runs. Senior third baseman Josh Labiche has stolen 14 bases while hitting .295, and sophomore Blake Bergeron has turned in a .357 average with 17 extra-base hits (six home runs, 11 doubles).
“We’ve had some guys that are coming off injuries that needed to get some at-bats and innings, and we’ve had some guys that need to find out their strengths and address their weaknesses. That’s what summer ball is for,” Thibodeaux said. “Fortunately, we’ve seen some real positive results from our guys.”