Nicolino's line against Florida International University wasn't pretty -- five runs on seven hits and a quick exit after 49 pitches instead of his slated two innings.
The Marlins did pick Nicolino up, rallying to a 9-5 win at Roger Dean Stadium.
"I tip my cap to them. They came out with an approach," Nicolino said. "I was working on some things. They beat me. It's good to see where I was at today. Obviously, not the start I wanted. But it happens. It's baseball. Anyone can get beaten any day. It doesn't matter if it's college."
The positives Nicolino took are that he fielded his position well and threw strikes, working mostly off his fastball.
But with two outs in the second inning, after allowing two straight hits, manager Mike Redmond walked to the mound to make a change.
"When I saw Red, I was frustrated," Nicolino said. "I was more disappointed in myself. They played great behind me. I didn't give myself the opportunities to get out of those jams. It's never good to see Red come out to get you before he was supposed to."
The Marlins used their second straight exhibition against a college team to get a number of young players into the game.
Miami's first run, however, came courtesy of veteran Ty Wigginton, who at 36 is the oldest player in camp. Wigginton belted a home run in the second inning. The game-changing hit for Miami was Austin Nola's three-run triple in a six-run sixth inning.
Nicolino also got some defensive help in the first inning when right fielder Matt Angel jumped over the small wall in foul territory and onto the grass to snare Louis Silverio's fly ball.
"Really, throughout the day, we had chances to put away some of their hitters, we didn't," Redmond said. "We missed up in the zone quite a bit, especially when we were ahead in the count."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter