Top-Seeded Southeastern Punches Ticket to Lewiston with Team Effort to Take Down Second-Seeded Tennessee Wesleyan

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – For the first time in program history, the Southeastern University baseball team is heading to the NAIA World Series. The top-seeded Fire punched their ticket to Lewiston with a 7-4 victory over the Tennessee Wesleyan University Bulldogs that earned them the NAIA Opening Round Kingsport Bracket Championship.

“You love it for this institution and the program…Anytime you can take the next step as a program and make it to the World Series for the first time that’s huge…To see the smiles on these guys’ faces tonight makes it all worth it,” commented head Coach Adrian Dinkel.

The Fire received a complete effort from the offensive lineup, with all hitters one through nine accounting for at least one hit and 14 base knocks total.

The first hit of the contest for SEU came in the bottom of the second, when junior designated hitter Ivan Nunez teed off on a first-pitch fastball over the left field wall for a solo home run to put the Fire ahead 1-0.

The Bulldogs answered with a solo homer of their own in the top of the fourth to tie things up 1-1.

TWC threatened in the top of the fourth with a man on, however, junior catcher Marcus Stumped recorded his 15th runner caught stealing of the season off a beautiful throw to Adam De La Cruz that took out the baserunner.

The Fire’s bats were fueled by the excellent defensive play in the bottom half of the frame, as SEU plated two runs off an RBI single by junior infielder Dominic Anagnos that scored Manuel Mesa. An RBI double two at-bats later by junior first baseman Nick Bottari brought Anagnos home and put Southeastern ahead 3-1.

Mesa finished the day as the top bat for SEU, going 3-5 at the plate.

The Bulldogs made it a one-run contest in the top of the next inning.

However, the Fire retaliated with a four-run bottom of the sixth thanks to four RBI base hits in a row to take a 7-2 lead.

For his fourth consecutive start, senior right-handed pitcher Jordan Scott tossed seven innings of work. Scott allowed three earned on eight hits and fanned six Bulldogs.

He was replaced on the mound by senior righty Jared Crescentini, who made the transition from the starting rotation to the bullpen midway through the season.

Crescentini entered the game in the top of the eighth with runners on second and third and no outs. After surrendering an RBI double that allowed the Bulldogs to cut the deficit down to 7-4, the Wesley Chapel native did not surrender a hit. Five of the six outs recorded by Crescentini were punch outs, including the final three outs of the game to secure the win.

“I wasn’t really thinking about the last out. I was just trying to get an out. I didn’t care if he struck out or put the ball in play…After that is when the emotions set in,” shared Crescentini.

The Fire celebrate making program history, but also have a quick turnaround as they head to Lewiston, Idaho for the NAIA World Series next week.

“We just have to keep the momentum. Once you get to Idaho it’s a new season and everyone’s good once you get there,” remarked Dinkel.

SEU awaits to find out its pairing in the tournament. Play is set to begin Friday, May 25.