BABSON PARK, Fla.— In a back-and-forth battle with No. 19 Webber International, Southeastern fought back multiple times to eventually take the contest 13-8. With the victory, SEU (40-7) notched the 40-win mark for the third consecutive season.
The Fire gained an early advantage in the opening frame after both Mike Taylor Jr. and Ivan Nunez reached base. With Taylor Jr. at third and Nunez at first, Nunez took off for second, forcing a throw from the Webber catcher. Taylor Jr. broke for the plate and scored on the throw to put SEU up 1-0.
However, the Warriors answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 lead after one.
In the back-and-forth contest, Southeastern cancelled the advantage in the second when Adam De La Cruz doubled in Carlos Viera from first to knot the game at two. Taylor Jr. then brought De La Cruz in as SEU regained the lead. Manuel Mesa crossed the plate on a groundout to cap off the three-run inning and make it 4-2.
Webber then tied the contest at four with a two-run shot in the bottom of the second.
In the third, Dan Valerio led off with a double and came around to give Southeastern its third lead of the game as the Fire went up 5-4.
After a scoreless bottom of the third that ended a streak of five straight half innings with a run scored to start the game, Webber leveled the contest for the fourth time in the fourth. The Warriors then went on to take a 7-5 lead with another two runs in the fifth.
Southeastern’s ability to answer immediately following Webber scores was the key to success. SEU scored in four of the five half innings directly after the Warriors put up runs, limiting WIU momentum.
The Fire responded in the form of six runs in the sixth to finally go up for good. An RBI hit by Valerio that scored Taylor Jr. started the rally and made it a one-run contest. Thanks to a couple key errors by WIU and RBIs by Colton Onstott, De La Cruz, and Mesa, SEU batted around the order and took an 11-7 advantage in the sixth. De La Cruz went 2-3 with three RBIs, while Mesa added three hits.
Back-to-back solo jacks by Abdel Guadalupe and Valerio with two outs in the eighth gave Southeastern insurance runs in the five-run competition. Valerio ended the night an impressive 3-3 with a trio of runs scored and a pair of RBIs.
Five SEU players had multiple hits in the game as SEU registered 14 hits as a team.
Although the Fire gave up eight runs, Kyle Wilson pitched effectively over two-and-two-third innings, striking out four and allowing a single hit. The senior improved to 5-0 on the year with the performance on the mound.
Southeastern will now host RV Keiser University for a three-game set beginning on Friday. First pitch at Ted A. Broer Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m.