No. 4 Southeastern Impresses in Opening Doubleheader Versus Florida National
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – The No. 4 Southeastern University baseball team launched its 2018 campaign with a successful doubleheader sweep of the Florida National University Conquistadors. The Fire took game one by a score of 9-3 before enjoying an offensive explosion in the second game that ended in a 17-7 SEU victory.
The Conquistadors got on the board first game of the doubleheader, scoring the opening run on an error.
The Fire retaliated with seven unanswered runs in the first four innings. Junior outfielder Marvin Malone drove in junior outfielder Manuel Mesa in the bottom of the first to score SEU’s first run of 2018.
A sac fly by junior utility man Dan Valerio in the bottom of the third scored Malone and put the Fire up over the Conquistadors 3-1.
Junior third baseman Keiner Colmenarez belted the first Southeastern home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth, with a shot over the right field fence. SEU brought across three more runs in the half inning thanks to RBI base hits by junior infielder Dominic Anagnos and Valerio, putting the Fire up 7-1 at the end of four.
The Conquistadors responded with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, however the Fire responded in the bottom half of the inning with RBI singles from junior first baseman Nick Roepken and Valerio.
Junior right handed pitcher Nick Moisant was electric on the mound in the opening game. Moisant hurled four frames of one hit baseball, striking out six and walking none. The Canada College transfer retired 10 straight at one point on his way to earning the win.
“Anytime you can get a guy to come out early and throw strikes you’re going to win games, so we were happy with the aggression he worked with,” shared head coach Adrian Dinkel.
The Conquistadors struck first in game two of the doubleheader as well, bringing in a pair of runs in the top of the first. However, the Fire quickly responded once again in the bottom half of the inning. Junior first baseman Nick Bottari hammered one over the left field fence to even things up 2-2.
SEU added two more runs in the bottom off of an RBI double from Valerio and a sac fly by Anagnos that scored Colmenarez and put Southeastern up 4-2.
Valerio had a memorable opening day for the Fire. The Tinton Falls, N.J. native finished the day a batting a torrid .625 at the plate (5-8) with seven runs batted in and three doubles, all three of which came in the second game.
The Fire broke the game open in the bottom of the third inning thanks to an eight run effort. One of the highlights of the big inning was sophomore utility man Vince Volpatti stealing home. Malone crossed the plate on a wild pitch later in the frame to put SEU up 12-2 and cap off the explosive inning.
“What impressed me the most today was our aggressiveness on the bases. I think that really changed the game for us,” commented Coach Dinkel.
An RBI single in the bottom of the fifth by junior infielder Ivan Nunez score Roepken and Malone to put Southeastern up 15-2. A two run missile over the center field wall by Malone elevated SEU to a 17-2 advantage and concluded the Fire offensive outburst.
A spirited five run performance in the top of the 7th by FNU cut the deficit to 10 runs, but that was as close as the Conquistadors came to the Fire lead.
Senior lefty Colton Dixon earned the win in game two for Southeastern, tossing four frames and striking out five.
The Fire will look to continue building an early season rhythm as they host Brewton-Parker College for a pair of doubleheaders this weekend at Bartow High School. The first doubleheader is slated to begin on Friday at noon.