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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—The Southeastern University baseball team fell to Thomas University in the initial game of the 2019 Sun Conference Tournament by a score of 4-3.
The Fire struggled to get offense going early in the competition with the Night Hawks, while Thomas broke through in the third. All nine TU batters came to the plate as Thomas took a 3-0 advantage.
Southeastern’s offense was stunted by double plays until the seventh frame. In both the fourth and fifth innings, the Fire got runners on first, but grounded into double plays in the next at-bat each time.
An inability to record back-to-back baserunners finally ended in the seventh, as Adam De La Cruz and Ivan Nunez reached consecutively to lead off the inning. Noah Strohl then singled in De La Cruz to make it 3-1.
After a fielder’s choice by Dan Valerio, a single by Abdel Guadalupe and a drawn hit by pitch via Dominic Anagnos loaded the bases, Colton Onstott drew a walk to cut the deficit to one through seven.
The team’s then traded runs in the eighth, with Thomas starting the inning with a pair of doubles to take a 4-2 lead. SEU then answered, as Manuel Mesa and De La Cruz both reached to lead off the bottom of the frame. After Mesa stole third, the two executed a double steal that crossed Mesa to make it a one-run ballgame once more heading into the final inning.
With two down in the ninth, Southeastern had Onstott, Mike Taylor Jr. and Mesa all get on base. The Fire nearly pulled off an impressive two-out rally, but left the bases loaded and the winning run on second in the bottom of the ninth.
No Southeastern batter registered a multi-hit performance on the day; however, eight of nine starters collected a base hit in the game. Mesa’s double in the eighth, which extended the senior’s hit streak to 35 games, was the only extra-base hit for the Fire.
SEU will now face either St. Thomas or Warner in an elimination contest Friday at 11 a.m. at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.