LAKELAND, Fla. – On a night where over six hours of baseball was played at Ted A. Broer Stadium, the No. 3 Southeastern University baseball took both games of a scheduled seven inning doubleheader over the RV Concordia University Cardinals in extra inning walk-off fashion. The Fire outlasted the Cardinals 7-6 in the 12 inning game one affair before SEU walked off in the eighth versus Concordia 2-1.
The four hour and 28-minute opening game of the doubleheader was the longest game inning-wise since the Fire dropped a 4-2 13 inning contest to Embry-Riddle on 2/7/14.
SEU faced an early 4-0 deficit after allowing the Cardinals to get two runs across in both the top of the first and second innings.
The Fire responded in the bottom of the second by bringing home three runs on two hits and two errors to cut the Concordia lead to 4-3. An RBI double by junior outfielder Marvin Malone highlighted the frame.
Southeastern evened things up 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth when junior first baseman Nick Bottari singled one to left field that scored Dominic Anagnos.
Both teams remained deadlocked at 4-4 for the next five innings, with both teams just mustering two hits apiece during that stretch.
Junior right-handed pitcher Braeden Holub tossed all five of those frames for SEU. The Tomball, Texas native was dynamic in relief for the Fire, tossing five shutout innings, surrendering just two hits, and striking out four.
The Cardinals seemed to clinch the win in the top of the 11th, bringing two across to take a 6-4 lead. However, the Fire rifled in two runs of their own thanks to an RBI double by Bottari that scored Anagnos and a sacrifice fly by junior utility man Dan Valerio that ushered in Malone to tie things back up 6-6.
The Fire walked off in the bottom of the twelfth when a ball off the bat of junior C/1B Nick Roepken got past the glove of the Concordia third baseman and allowed Adam De La Cruz to emphatically make his way to home plate.
Senior left-handed pitcher Preston Szuch earned his first win of the season, tossing two innings of one-hit baseball and striking out three in relief.
In game two, the Fire faced another early deficit after the Cardinals scored on an error in the top of the third to go up 1-0.
Senior righty Eddie Jimenez was impressive in his first start of the season. Jimenez tossed five frames, allowed one unearned run, walked one, and struck out eight. Five of the first nine outs the Bethany College native recorded were punch outs.
The Fire were held hitless through the first three and one thirds. However, SEU was held off the scoreboard until junior catcher Torrence Sumerlin singled one up the middle in the bottom of the fifth that scored Vince Volpatti and tied things up 1-1.
On a day where Southeastern had to manage its pitching staff carefully, senior southpaw Jonathan Bermudez was called upon in relief to keep the contest tied and give the Fire a chance to go ahead.
The typical ace starter tossed one and two thirds of no-hit relief, striking out two, and eventually improving to 7-0 on the season.
He earned that decision when junior third baseman Keiner Colmenarez singled one to left-center in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded that scored Ivan Nunez and gave SEU its second walk-off win of the day.
The Fire are back in action Tuesday afternoon as they host Indiana University South Bend in another scheduled seven inning doubleheader. Game times are set for 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.