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HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A late hitting rally gave Southeastern some extra breathing room Monday in its national tournament opener.
Senior Luis Diaz’s 3-for-4 effort with a run and two driven in helped the Fire defeat Lyon 7-1 to pick up their first win in the NAIA opening round since 2014.
With his leadoff single on the first pitch in the bottom of the first, Diaz set the new single-season school record for hits with his 92nd of the year.
The Fire got the scoring started in the bottom of the second on a Jadan Garcia sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Kianalu Pitoy.
Jamal Wilson was excellent on the hill, allowing an unearned run on three hits, and holding the first five Lyon hitters to a combined 0-for-18. The senior struck out 13 and walked two.
Wilson struggled slightly in the second, allowing two hits and a walk, but picked up a strikeout to end the inning with the bases loaded.
Southeastern was held in check until the fifth when Mike D’Acunti hit a three-run homer, his 13th of the year to give the Fire a 4-0 lead.
SEU tacked on three more in the sixth, getting two off the bat of Diaz on a single to center field, then a sacrifice fly by Marcus Stump to score De’John Suber. It looked as if D’Acunti would bring in Diaz from second on a sacrifice fly, but was ruled out for leaving the base early.
Eight of Southeastern’s 10 hits came in the fifth inning or later.
Brandon Goff, Mike Ruppenthal, and Chris Colletti came out of the bullpen in relief, holding the Scotts to a run on a hit over two innings of work.
Southeastern will now face host William Carey Tuesday at 1 p.m. EDT.