THOMASVILLE, Ga.—With the Fire’s 18-1 smashing of Thomas University in game one of their doubleheader, head coach Adrian Dinkel won his 300th career game, while Southeastern took the final matchup of the series by a score of 8-5, as well.
Dinkel complied 232 wins at Sterling College before leading the Fire to their first 50-win season last year. This season, he has captained the team to a 19-0 record, besting last year’s 16-0 start.
There has been no shortage of offensive firepower since Dinkel took over, as was exhibited early in the first competition on Saturday, with SEU striking twice before the Night Hawks came to the plate. Nick Bottari singled in Adam De La Cruz and was brought in by a bases-loaded hit by pitch to make it 2-0 before Thomas had an at-bat.
Southeastern then dominated in the second frame, with everyone’s bats coming alive. SEU recorded nine hits in the second inning alone, plating 11 runs in the process.
De La Cruz started the inning with a sac fly that scored Vince Volpatti. Marvin Malone, Bottari, Ivan Nunez, and Dan Valerio all notched consecutive base hits and were driven in to stretch the lead to nine.
After the Fire had already scored seven runs in the inning, Malone stepped up again, this time with the bases loaded. He proceeded to promptly clear them by sending a longball over the fence to make it 13-0 Southeastern just an inning and a half into the game. The transfer finished the competition with five RBIs, all in the top of the second.
At the end of the seven-inning game, 11 different Fire players had hits, while nine drove in runs. Southeastern capitalized by hitting .488 (20-41) overall and batting .625 with runners in scoring position.
Valerio, who had a monstrous day at the plate, added to the 13-run advantage by hitting a solo shot in the fifth. The Tinton Falls, New Jersey native ended the night a combined 7-for-10 with six RBIs.
Following a Kainalu Pitoy triple that scored two runs in the sixth, Nunez rounded the bases with a two-run bomb to make it 18-0.
On the mound, Jordan Scott silenced the Night Hawks’ bats in the first game by only allowing five hits and one run through six innings pitched, earning his fourth victory of the year in as many attempts and helping his coach to win number 300.
In game two, Valerio picked up right where he left off in game one, driving in Bottari and Malone to break the ice in the third inning. He repeated the exact feat in the fifth to extend Southeastern’s advantage to 5-0.
The Night Hawks responded in the bottom of the fifth with five runs of their own to tie the ballgame; however, the Fire would answer in the ensuing half inning with solo jacks by Torrence Sumerlin and Bottari. Bottari went an impressive 4-for-5 in the batter’s box in game two with three runs scored.
Heibert Romero, who only gave up two hits, pitched a spotless three and two thirds innings in relief in the second contest to seal an 8-5 win in the series finale.
The Fire will look to remain extend their 19-game winning streak when they host Mount Vernon Nazarene University on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Ted A. Broer Stadium.