No. 4 Southeastern Battles Back in Game One, Cruises Past USCB in Game Two of Saturday Doubleheader
LAKELAND, Fla. – For the second straight weekend, the No. 4 Southeastern University baseball team recorded a three game Sun Conference series sweep. The Fire defeated the University of South Carolina Beaufort Sand Sharks 6-4 in a game one comeback victory before clinching the sweep with a 9-3 handling of USCB in the second game.
The Fire faced their largest deficit of the season in game one, after surrendering four runs on four hits in the top of the second to trail USCB 4-0.
After a shaky second frame, senior righty Jordan Scott bounced back to put together a solid outing. Scott tossed five innings of shutout baseball after the second inning, recording three strikeouts during that stretch. The Liberty transfer retired the last eight Sand Sharks he faced and eventually earned his third win of the season.
Scott received clutch help from the Fire bats. In the bottom of the sixth, the Fire got two across on an RBI groundout by junior utility man Dan Valerio and single by junior infielder Ivan Nunez that cut the deficit to 4-2.
An RBI single in the bottom of the seventh by junior outfielder Marvin Malone scored Marcus Stump and brought the Fire to within one.
Later in the seventh, a pair of wild pitches with the bases loaded allowed SEU to even things up, as well as earn the go ahead run when Malone crossed the plate on the errant delivery.
“Our guys find a way to continue to fight and compete…We don’t like to have to change the style of offense we play, but at the end of the day our guys just do a good job of finding a way to win games,” shared head coach Adrian Dinkel.
Southeastern received a powerful insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, when junior shortstop Adam De La Cruz led off the inning with a towering solo home run over the left field fence to put the Fire up 6-4.
Junior closer Heibert Romero tossed two frames of one-hit baseball to lock down the Sand Sharks and preserve the Fire win. Romero earned his fourth save of the season.
Senior right handed pitcher Jared Crescentini was the story of game two for SEU. The Missouri Baptist transfer tossed seven shutout frames, allowing four hits, and fanning nine Sand Sharks.
Crescentini retired 12 straight batters from the top of the second to the top of the sixth inning. He improved to 3-0 on the season and has yet to surrender an earned run through 15 and two thirds innings of work this season.
“He (Crescentini) set the tone early. That’s the best he’s looked this spring. He did a great job and gave us a chance to build a lead,” commented Dinkel.
The Fire offense powered home nine runs on 14 hits in the series finale. The first of those runs came in the bottom of the second off the bat of Nunez, who went yard for the first time this season to put SEU up 1-0.
SEU brought two more across in the bottom of the third from an RBI groundout by Malone and a single by junior first baseman Nick Bottari that scored De La Cruz.
A pair of two RBI base hits by Nunez and junior third baseman Keiner Colmenarez in the bottom of the sixth put SEU up 7-0. Nunez finished the day .429 at the plate (3-7) with four runs batted in.
The Fire tacked on two more in the bottom of the eight thanks to a two RBI double by junior utility man Jett Swetland that scored Bottari and Nick Roepken.
USCB brought across all three of its game two runs in the top of the eighth.
The Fire look to continue their hot start to the 2018 campaign when they host Edward Waters for doubleheader action this upcoming Tuesday. Game times are set for 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.