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Big Inning for Tigers Dooms Fire in Strong Showing Versus Major League Talent
LAKELAND, Fla.- The final score did not reflect the intensity and passion the Fire competed with in their major-league debut. The No. 1 Southeastern University Fire fell to the Detroit Tigers 13-2 in a Spring Training Exhibition game Friday afternoon in front of 4,965 fans.
After enjoying the pre-game festivities of hanging their uniforms up in a major league locker room, joking with Miguel Cabrera at the fence as he fielded grounders, and taking professional batting practice, the Fire took the field for their highly-anticipated match-up with Detroit.
SEU made its presence felt quickly, as senior outfielder Manuel Mesa raked the first pitch offering from Seth Turnbull up the middle for a single. Mesa stole second on the following SEU at-bat to get the dugout fired up.
The Tigers struck first in the bottom of the second via a solo home run off the bat of Brandon Dixon. Detroit received the benefit of another long ball in the bottom of the third when Jake Rogers buried one to center field to put the Tigers ahead 2-0.
The Fire answered in the top of the fourth versus one of the hottest prospects in professional baseball. SEU rattled three consecutive singles off of 2018 MLB Number One Overall Pick Casey Mize. After the first two base knocks by Ivan Nunez and Noah Strohl, it was junior outfielder Abdel Guadalupe who drove home Nunez on the single to center.
On a staff day for the Southeastern pitching staff, several of the Fire arms dazzled against the professional bats they faced. In the top of the first, senior lefty Felix Dieguez struck out two of the three Tigers he saw, sitting Detroit down in order.
Marc Soto, Bryce Fraser, and Heibert Romero combined to hold the Tigers to zero runs on two hits in the fourth through sixth frames.
Guadalupe came in clutch for Southeastern once more in the top of the seventh, hammering a triple to center field that scored Noah Strohl and tied things up with Detroit 2-2.
The Tigers answered in the bottom half of the frame with an RBI double by Kade Scivicque that regained them the lead 3-2.
Detroit broke things open in the bottom of the eighth with a 10-run inning on 10 hits.
“I am proud of how our guys went out and competed today,” shared head coach Adrian Dinkel. “We had a rough ending but hung with them, did things the right way, and gave the glory to God for this awesome opportunity”.
The Fire are back in action next Tuesday at home versus Florida National University in a doubleheader scheduled for 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.