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Suire’s 10th Inning Home Run & Jennings’ 10 Strikeouts Lift ULM Past Nicholls State 1-0 in Friday’s Season Opener
Courtesy: ulmwarhawks.com
         
Release: February 22, 2008
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Courtesy: ulmwarhawks.com
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THIBODAUX, La.Kyle Suire blasted a solo home run over the right-center field wall in the top of the 10th inning breaking a scoreless tie lifting ULM to a 1-0 victory over Nicholls State in the season opener for both schools.

The blast came one inning too late for ULM (1-0) starter Jared Jennings who dazzled on the mound for the first eight innings in Didier Field. The senior, who had started just six games in his career, struck out a career-high 10 batters and walked none while scattering just four hits.

Suire’s home run was an unlikely ending to the game as only five balls sailed out of Didier Field all of last season.

The senior second baseman struck out his first three trips to the plate, but finished the game with back-to-back base knocks.

It took just one game for the Warhawks to accomplish something they didn't accomplish all of last season, throw a shutout.

Junior college transfer Derek Ward tossed the final two innings for ULM picking up the victory. The Warhawks designated closer this season struck out three and didn’t allow a hit.

The Warhawks threatened in the top half of the seventh inning putting runners on first and third with only one out. Sophomore Matt Laird doubled down the line in right and moved to third on a passed ball. Junior college transfer Matt Collins drew a walk off reliever Jacob Sullivan putting runners on the corners.

Following a pitching change by Nicholls State (0-1), junior Ryan McMillan hit a sharp line drive down the third base line, but Brett Hoeflich snared the ball and saved a pair of runs. Nick Wade grounded out to Drew Erwin, who relieved Sullivan, to end the inning.

ULM had another chance to draw first blood in the next frame with runners on first and second and just one away. Jon Prevost drew his second walk of the game and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ben Soignier and Suire followed with a single to third.

Dexter Fontenot screamed a ball down the third base but just like the previous inning Hoeflich was in the right place at the right time pulling in the ball and doubling off Prevost at second to end the threat.

For the third straight inning ULM put runners in scoring position in the ninth inning but couldn’t break the string of zeros on the scoreboard. A.J. Siggers led of the inning getting hit by a pitch but was retired on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Laird.

McMillan singled on a line drive off Hoeflich’s glove, which kept it from going into the bullpen and limited McMillan to just one base and kept Laird on second. Dale Dickerson caught Wade looking on strike three to keep the game scoreless; Dickerson took the loss on the mound for the Colonels.

Nicholls State posted the first true threat of the game with a runner on third and just one out in the fourth inning. Jennings battled back to strikeout Hoeflich and make a great play on a slow roller between first and the mound to end the inning.

Ryan Dupuis started for the Colonels on the mound lasting just five innings due to a high pitch count (81). The senior right-hander allowed just four hits while striking out five and not allowing a walk.

The Warhawks and Colonels continue the three-game set tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ULM will send junior college transfer Ryan Kirk (3-1, 3.20) to the hill while Nicholls State counters with Justin Breaux (1-6, 6.35).

ULM 1, Nicholls State 0 (Feb 22, 2008 at Thibodaux, La.)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
ULM................. 000 000 000 1 - 1 8 1 (1-0)
Nicholls State...... 000 000 000 0 - 0 4 1 (0-1)
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Pitchers: ULM - Jennings, Jared; Ward, Derek(9). Nicholls State - Lance Dupuis;
Jacob Sullivan(6); Drew Erwin(7); Dale Dickerson(8).
Win-Ward, Derek(1-0) Loss-Dale Dickerson(0-1) T-2:50 A-1029
HR ULM - Suire, Kyle (1).

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