Fire Bested by Bulldogs in NAIA Top-Two Showdown

by | Mar 6, 2019 | RRSN News | 0 comments

LAKELAND, Fla.- In a non-conference battle of the top two teams in the NAIA, the Fire fell short, as the No. 1 Southeastern University baseball team was edged by the No. 2 Tennessee Wesleyan University Bulldogs 8-7 on Wednesday afternoon. The Fire fell to 15-3 on the season, despite out-hitting TWC 10-7.
SEU struck first in the bottom of the second, as senior Dan Valerio commenced what was a prolific day at the plate. Valerio belted his first of two home-runs, a two-run shot over the left field fence.
The Bulldogs answered with five answered runs, plating two in both the top of the third and three in the top of the fourth, putting TWC ahead of SEU 5-2.
The Fire surged their way back into the contest, scoring two in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to 5-4. A stolen base by Dominic Anagnos allowed Valerio to come home on the attempted throw-out. An RBI-double by senior outfielder Manuel Mesa scored Anagnos later in the frame.
After the Bulldogs tacked on another in the top of the sixth to go ahead 6-4, the Fire used the long ball to regain the lead. First, Valerio belted his second homer of the day, a solo shot to left field.
Following Valerio, senior first baseman Noah Strohl pulverized a two-run shot over the center field wall to put Southeastern ahead 7-6. Strohl, a transfer from Tennessee Wesleyan thought to have had the final word for SEU against his former team.
However, the Bulldogs regained the lead with a two-RBI double by Dan Fry.
Senior left-handed pitcher Felix Dieguez tossed a scoreless top of the ninth in relief, striking out two of the three Bulldogs he faced in order to give the Fire a chance in the bottom of the ninth.
However, SEU went down in order in the bottom of the ninth to conclude the game.
The Fire look to bounce back with the first of a three-game set versus Saint Xavier University tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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