No. 3 Southeastern Powers Past Edward Waters to Conclude Regular Season Slate
Jacksonville, Fla. – The No. 3 Southeastern University baseball team concluded an impressive 2018 regular season with a doubleheader sweep of the Edward Waters College Tigers. The Fire powered past the Tigers in game one 10-3 before battling back to take the second contest 6-3. With the two wins, SEU tied the program record for single-season wins at 50, a mark set by last year’s team.
The torque of Southeastern’s bats was on full display in game one. The Fire belted five home runs in the contest. However, all of those long balls came from just two different players.
One of those players was junior outfielder Manuel Mesa, who rewrote the SEU record books by becoming the first player to belt three home runs in one game during the NAIA era.
All three of the Mesa long balls were solo shots. The first of which came in the top of the first to dead center that put the Fire ahead 1-0. Junior infielder Ivan Nunez doubled the lead with an RBI double down the right field line that scored Vince Volpatti.
Mesa’s second shot came in the top of the third and breezed over the left field fence.
The Tigers were able to make it a one-run game in the bottom of the third after plating two on a pair of hits and wild pitches.
The Fire created some breathing room in the top of the fourth when junior utility man Torrence Sumerlin hit a two-run rocket to left-center to put the Fire ahead 5-2.
In the next at-bat, Mesa complete the hat trick of homers with a no-doubter to right-center. The three long balls pushed his season home run total to 10.
History continued to be made later in the half inning, as junior utility player Dan Valerio singled through the right side to score Volpatti and put SEU ahead 7-2.
The RBI earned Valerio sole possession of the single-season runs batted in program record at SEU, a mark that had stood for 12 years.
“Ever since my dad got sick, I’ve had a different motivation than I’ve had in the past. I’ve tried to bring him in the box with me. That’s why I think I am having the special season that I’m having,” shared Valerio.
The Tinton Falls, N.J. native is the first Southeastern player to have a 70 RBI season since 2009.
“I’m glad to help the team drive in runs and win games. I take a lot of pride in that,” commented Valerio.
Senior right-handed pitcher Chris Colletti earned his first win of the season, pitching three innings of two-hit relief, allowing just one run to cross. This was just Colletti’s second appearance of the year after battling back from a preseason injury.
Sumerlin crushed his second homer of the day in the top of the fifth, a three-run dinger to left-center that put the Fire ahead 10-2.
Southeastern had to battle back in the second game of the doubleheader after falling behind 3-0 through four innings. The Fire left eight men on base through the first four frames.
The SEU offense ignited in the top of the fifth, as the Fire plated all six of their runs of four hits, four walks, and three wild pitches in the inning.
An RBI single by Volpatti scored Mesa and got the Fire on the board. Back-to-back bases-loaded singles by senior utility player Kainalu Pitoy and junior utility man Marcus Stump tied things up 3-3.
A bases-loaded wild pitch scored Ivan Nunez to put the Fire ahead 4-3. SEU tacked on two more in the frame thanks to an RBI single by Sumerlin and a sac fly by junior shortstop Adam De La Cruz.
Senior righty Jared Crescentini improved to 6-1 on the season after tossing three innings of shutout relief and fanning four. Senior closer Eddie Jimenez earned his fourth save of the season after tossing a clean bottom of the seventh.
“Due to a reduced travel roster, many guys had to step into roles they hadn’t this season and they stepped up. I hope they can take the momentum they gained from today and carry it into the postseason,” remarked head coach Adrian Dinkel.
The Fire await to find out who their first round opponent will be in The Sun Conference Tournament to be played in West Palm Beach.