Fire Sweep St. Ambrose with Pair of Victories

by | Mar 16, 2019 | RRSN News | 0 comments

LAKELAND, Fla.— The top-ranked baseball team in the country put together two complete performances to come away with a sweep of St. Ambrose University on Saturday. Southeastern notched a 7-2 win in the first contest and thrashed the Bees 16-1 behind seven RBIs from Josh Nelson in the second as the Fire moved to 26-3 on the year.
SEU scored the opening five runs of the first game with ease. Dan Valerio and Nelson put Southeastern up 2-0 with RBI hits in the second. Colton Onstott and Willie Estrada then each homered on the first pitch of the third and fourth innings, respectively, while Valerio notched another RBI hit as the Fire captured a 5-0 advantage after four.
Eight of nine Southeastern starters registered hits on the afternoon, highlighted by Valerio and Estrada both going 2-3 with two RBIs. Nelson and Anagnos also had a pair of hits in the 7-2 win.
Jayden Hartle (3-0) tossed an impressive outing, only allowing one hit through 5.2 innings of work on the mound. The junior had a final line of five hits and two earned with nine strikeouts through six innings. Kasey Gast also pitched an inning in relief without allowing a hit.
“We’ve had a tendency to get behind hitters this season but the pitching staff did a good job of holding them down today. I’m really happy with where we’re at,” said Head Coach Adrian Dinkel.
Keven Long pitched 5.1 innings of no-hit baseball in the latter competition before surrendering the first hit of the day. Long, a junior transfer from Missouri Baptist finished six full innings on the mound, giving up just four hits and a single earned run while striking out five as he improved to 5-0 on the season.
Game two featured a career day by Nelson, who continued to produce at the plate. After Onstott launched his second longball of the afternoon to open the game, the junior scored Valerio with his first of three hits, making it 3-0 in the second.
After the nation’s best home run hitting team (1.9 home runs per game) broke open the contest thanks to a three-run bomb by Ivan Nunez and a solo jack by Adam De La Cruz, Nelson added six RBIs in his final two at-bats.
In the fifth, Nelson doubled to right, scoring both De La Cruz and Nunez.
Nelson capped off his stunning performance with a grand slam (his first home run of the year) in the sixth that made it 16-1. The Jacksonville, Fla. native ended game two 3-4 with seven RBIs, going 5-7 with three runs scored and eight batted in overall on the day.
“Josh [Nelson] finally got an opportunity and took full advantage of it. We’ve been telling those guys to be prepared when they get opportunities and he definitely was. Hopefully we can work him into the lineup more,” said Dinkel.
Marc Soto came in to pitch the final inning, sending the Bees down in four batters as the Fire claimed a 16-1 victory.
Even though the Fire have played eight games this week, SEU is still showing up the ballpark with energy and finding a way to get wins.
Coach Dinkel stated, “Our guys are finding a way to compete. They came into the park a little tired but to find a way to put up as many runs as we did today was good to see.”
The Fire will conclude their 16-game homestand with a matchup against Concordia University of Ann Arbor on Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Ted A. Broer Stadium.

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