THIBODAUX, La. – Head coach Seth Thibodeaux released the 2018 Nicholls State University baseball schedule Tuesday, featuring 26 games at Ben Meyer Diamond at Ray E. Didier Field and seven neutral site matchups.
The Colonels open the season Feb. 16 at home in a three-game set against Stony Brook, a participant in the 2012 NCAA World Series. Nicholls will then head to Corpus Christi, Texas, for three contests at the Whataburger Classic, which will be held at the Corpus Christi Hooks’ Whataburger Field.
The Colonels’ second tournament of the season will take place at the Cox Diamond Invitational in Pensacola, Florida, inside the Blue Wahoos Stadium. Nicholls will face Ohio State, Virginia Tech and a Southern Miss team that hosted a regional and eventually ended the 2017 season ranked No. 16.
“We have a great schedule in strength and balance,” Thibodeaux said. “It’s always a treat to host a great program and perennial regional team in Stony Brook to kick the season off. Back-to-back tournaments in the Whataburger Classic and Cox Diamond Invitational will give us a regional feel. We will certainly have our hands full, but this group that we have right now will be ready.”
The Colonels face a treacherous eight-game stint beginning March 27 against Mississippi State at the Shrine on Airline, the home of the New Orleans Baby Cakes. Nicholls travels to Tucson, Arizona for a three-game series against Arizona and then Baton Rouge for a highly-anticipated April 3 battle against LSU, the 2017 NCAA World Series runner-ups. The Colonels conclude the 13-day stretch at home versus SLC foe Sam Houston State, a 2017 Super Regional participant.
“Our guys will play several opponents that will be in regionals and maybe even Omaha this year. In order to compete the way we want, it takes the right collection of players. That is what we are working to develop this fall,” Thibodaux said.
Nicholls will compete against 14 teams that finished in the top-125 of the 2017 NCAA Final RPI, including six that advanced to an NCAA Regional.
The Colonels return the bulk of their infield in seniors Kyle Knauth, Joey Morales and Gage Teer and junior Ethan Valdez. Nicholls also brings back experience on the mound, including senior starters Alex Ernestine and Cayden Hatcher alongside junior Adam Tarver and redshirt sophomore Austin Bollinger, who both produced well out of the bullpen. Senior Chet Niehaus is the lone starter coming back for the Colonels’ outfield.