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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.— Facing elimination from the Sun Conference Tournament following a 3-2 loss to Webber on Friday, the Fire rebounded against Thomas University by capturing a 6-3 victory Saturday afternoon.
After only managing three hits in yesterday’s contest, Southeastern notched three hits in back-to-back innings to start the game. The Fire jumped out to a 5-1 advantage after two innings of play and would not look back.
Manuel Mesa began the competition with a leadoff double to immediately put himself in scoring position. Thanks to groundouts by Dominic Anagnos and Marvin Malone, Mesa made his way home to break the ice in the bottom of the first.
A Nick Bottari walk and an Ivan Nunez single then set the table for the conference’s RBI leader in Dan Valerio. Valerio cleared the bases with a double to left center, bringing his RBI total to 77 for the year and giving SEU a three-run lead after an inning.
The Night Hawks got a run in the second, but the Fire quickly responded with two in the bottom of the frame.
Singles by Marcus Stump and Adam De La Cruz brought the top of the order up as Mesa came to the plate again. Mesa’s second extra base hit in as many innings drove in Stump, while Anagnos plated De La Cruz to end the second.
Valerio, who finished the contest 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, recorded his second double of the ballgame to start the bottom of the third. The Tinton Falls, N.J. native stole third and came home on an errant throw to make it 6-1 after three.
Overall, Southeastern hit .303 compared to the Night Hawks’ .188 average, bouncing back from the team’s .094 (3-32) performance versus the Warriors. Today’s contest marked the 31st game of the season in which the Fire registered at least ten base hits.
Unlike SEU, Thomas was unable to string together hits in the competition, as right-handed pitcher Jordan Scott (10-1) cruised through seven frames of work on the mound. The senior gave up a pair of earned runs on six hits, but limited damage by striking out five and walking none.
Nick Moisant closed the door on the game and Thomas’ season as he picked up his first save of the year by pitching two hitless frames in relief of Scott, clinching the 6-3 victory for Southeastern.
The Fire will take on either no. 3 Florida Memorial or no. 5 Webber tomorrow in another elimination game. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.