(WVUE) - Senior Cole Stapler tossed his first career shutout as the Nicholls State blanked Central Arkansas, 5-0, Thursday night at Bear Stadium.
"I think we had the grit and the grind tonight. I feel like their arm is a good arm, but I felt like our guys were the hunters tonight," said head baseball coach Seth Thibodeaux. "[We] were very aggressive and understood [our] roles. Cole Stapler set the tone of the game early on and we made some beautiful plays defensively."
Two infield singles by junior outfielder Gavin Wehby and junior first baseman Kyle Knauth in the first frame resulted in the first run of the game after the throw at first attempting to get Knauth out sailed over the head of UCA first baseman Hunter Strong, allowing Wehby to come home.
Stapler, meanwhile, mowed through the Bears lineup, accumulating a career-high 10 strikeouts for the second time this season. The 6-5 righty threw first-pitch strikes to 26 of 33 batters and did not allow more than one hit in an inning. Stapler scattered just four hits to improve his record to 7-6. He has thrown 17 scoreless innings between his last two road starts.
"I just wanted to come out and give a quality start for the guys. [We] put up some runs early so I was just trying to hold them. We are about to peak and at the right time," said Stapler.
The win puts Nicholls at 15-13 in conference play alongside Lamar, Stephen F. Austin and UCA for a four-way tie for fourth. The top-eight teams advance to the Southland Conference tournament.
Game 2 is slated to start at 6 p.m. Friday.