LAKELAND, Fla.- The No. 1 Southeastern University baseball team cruised to an 11-2 win over the receiving votes Concordia University Ann Arbor Cardinals to improve to 27-3 on the season.
The difference in the contest proved to be effectiveness at the plate with runners aboard. The Fire left just three baserunners aboard through the first five innings played while on the flipside, the Cardinals stranded eight men on the base paths during that scoreless stretch.
The Fire plated the opening runs of the contest in the bottom of the first, scoring two on an RBI single by senior outfielder Mike Taylor Jr. that brought Manuel Mesa home, as well as a sacrifice fly by junior outfielder Abdel Guadalupe that was deep enough to score Taylor Jr.
Senior infielder Adam De La Cruz belted in two more in the bottom of the second, driving home Dan Valerio and Carlos Viera to put Southeastern ahead 4-0. De La Cruz finished the day a perfect 3-3 from the plate.
A sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third from senior infielder Dominic Anagnos scored Noah Strohl and grew the opening Fire lead to 5-0.
Senior left-handed pitcher Austin Covers tossed 4.2 innings of shutout baseball, surrendering six hits, walking two, and striking out four to improve to 4-0 on the season with the win.
Senior righty Kyle Wilson came in clutch for SEU in the top of the fifth, recording a bases-loaded strikeout with two outs and the tying run on deck to retire the Cardinals in the frame.
Concordia broke its silence in the top of the sixth, plating a run to cut the deficit to 5-1.
However, the Fire bats roared in the bottom of the sixth to dash the Cardinals hopes of a comeback. Southeastern plated six runs on five hits.
Junior catcher Colton Onstott got the big inning started with an RBI double that scored Anagnos. Mesa then blasted a three-run homer to center field, his eighth long ball of the season, to put the Fire ahead 9-1.
Strohl had the exclamation point in the monster frame, nailing his sixth home run of the season to center to put SEU ahead 11-1.
The rally effort by the Cardinals fell well short in the top of the seventh, as they were only able to muster up a lone run in the frame.
The Fire return to Sun Conference play with a weekend series at Warner. First pitch in Lake Wales on Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m.