Fifth-seeded Southeastern Advances to 2018 Avista-NAIA World Series Semifinal with Defeat of Seventh-Seeded Freed-Hardeman
LEWISTON, Idaho- Propelled by another gem on the mound, as well as timely hitting, the fifth-seeded Southeastern University baseball team advanced to the 2018 Avista-NAIA World Series Semifinal with an 8-1 victory over the seventh-seeded Freed-Hardeman University Lions.
“Felix on the mound was the story of the game for us. We were looking for five out of him and he gave us eight so that was huge,” remarked head coach Adrian Dinkel.
Junior left-handed pitcher Felix Dieguez took control of the game from the onset. Dieguez opened up the contest with five shutout frames, earning a punch out in each inning.
“I felt like I had control the whole game and that the momentum was on my side…Every inning I went out there my confidence grew and I just kept attacking the zone,” shared Dieguez.
His eight innings of work marked the longest start of the season for the Tampa native. During that stretch, Dieguezonly allowed one extra-base hit and fanned six total Lions.
On the day, SEU pitching held the one through four slot FHU hitters to .133 at the plate, a part of the order that had been batting .400 throughout the World Series.
Dieguez received support on the mound from his teammates at the plate.
The offensive reinforcement started in the bottom of the third, when the Fire plated four runs on four hits.
To kick things off, junior infielder Dominic Anagnos drove in junior outfielder Manuel Mesa, who led off the inning with a double.
Mesa is now 4-5 in the World Series when leading off an inning for the Fire, with all four hits going for extra bases.
Junior designated hitter Ivan Nunez brought home Anagnos later in the inning on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Junior outfielder Dan Valerio capped off the big frame with his 17th home run of the season, a two-run shot that cleared the left field bleachers to put SEU up 4-0.
“I was on all his pitches…especially the fastball. I saw it out of his hand and was able to get it where I want it. I was hunting that pitch and I was able to get it out of the ballpark,” commented Valerio.
The long ball put Valerio in sole possession of the team lead in homers.
A sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth by junior outfielder Marvin Malone scored Colmenarez and put the Fire ahead of the Lions 5-0.
Freed-Hardeman pushed one across in the top of the sixth to make it a 5-1 contest.
The Fire tallied three more runs in the bottom of the eighth to put the exclamation point on the victory.
Junior reliever Nick Moisant closed the door in the bottom of the ninth, turning in a one-hit frame.
The Fire are the lone remaining unbeaten team in the World Series field, and now face the host school Lewis-Clark State College Warriors tomorrow night at 9:30 p.m. EDT with the chance to earn a spot in the championship game.