Explosive seventh-inning rally powers Lions to series victory

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THIBODAUX, La. – Southeastern Louisiana exploded for eight runs in the seventh inning Sunday, blowing open a tight game against Nicholls on the way to an 11-6 win over the Colonels at Ray E. Didier Field.

The Lions (24-15, 12-9 Southland), held to one hit through the first six innings, smacked back-to-back doubles against Nicholls (21-21, 8-10 Southland) starting pitcher Alex Ernestine (1-2) to open up the seventh and never looked back.

Ryan Byers, a senior from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, led off the game with a solo home run to left field, staking the Southeastern to a 1-0 lead it would hold until the fourth.

Nicholls picked up its first hit of the game, a leadoff single by Joey Morales in the fourth. After Morales advanced to second on a wild pitch and third base on a groundout, he scored on a groundout by third baseman Gage Teer to tie the game.

Ernestine had retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced entering the seventh.

Carson Crites, a senior from Amarillo, Texas, hit a sinking line drive at left fielder Chet Niehaus leading off the inning. The ball got by Niehaus, who attempted to make a sliding grab, and his throwing error allowed Crites to advance to third.

Drew Avans followed with a double over the head of the center fielder, giving the Lions the lead. After designated hitter Webb Bobo reached on a fielding error by the second baseman, Nicholls brought in reliever Cayden Hatcher.

The right-hander walked Derrick Mount to load the bases and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Evan Pace. Avans scored on the sac fly. Bobo was forced at third on a bunt attempt by Jacob Seward, but Hatcher hit Byers with a pitch load the bases once again.

Brennan Breaud, a sophomore from Norco, Louisiana, drew a bases loaded walk, putting the Lions up by three.

Taylor Schwaner greeted reliever Austin Bollinger with a bases-clearing double off the center-field wall and Crites, batting for the second time in the inning, smacked a two-run homer to left to wrap up the scoring in the seventh.
Nicholls scored an unearned run in the bottom of the inning. Southeastern responded with single runs in the eighth and ninth, the latter coming on Byers’ second leadoff homer of the game.

The Colonels reach Evan Hileman, a former Nicholls pitcher, for four runs – three earned – in the ninth before Bryce Tassin closed out the game for the Lions.

Carlisle Koestler (2-2) earned the win, allowing one unearned run on a pair of hits and three walks in six innings of work. The redshirt sophomore from Vicksburg, Mississippi, struck out a pair.

Josh Green worked the seventh, allowing an unearned run, and Payton Robinson retired all three batters he faced in the eighth for Southeastern.

Ernestine suffered the loss, allowing four runs – two earned – in six-plus innings. The left-hander allowed three hits and a pair of walks, fanning five batters.

Southeastern hosts Alcorn State at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Lions’ final home midweek game of the season. The first 300 students at the game will receive a study pack to get ready for finals week, as part of the “Study Pack the Pat” promotion.

General Admission tickets for Lion home games are $9 for adults and $6 for children (ages 3-12). Tax is included in the price of admission. Southeastern students are admitted free with a valid university ID card.

Students and campus organizations can earn points toward their Lion Up Loyalty account at any home game by checking in on the mobile app while in attendance.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.LionSports.net/Tickets or by contacting the athletics ticket office at (985) 549-5466 or 1-866-LION-TIX. Ticket office hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Fridays. The box office at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field opens one hour prior to the scheduled first pitch.

Southeastern 11, Nicholls 6 (Apr 23, 2017 at Thibodaux, La.)
Southeastern…….. 100 000 811 – 11 8 2 (24-15, 12-9 SLC)
Nicholls…………… 000 100 104 – 6 8 2 (21-21, 8-10 SLC)
Pitchers: Southeastern – Koestler, Carlisle; Green, Josh (7); Robinson, Payton (8); Hileman, Evan (9); Tassin, Bryce (9) and Wasinger, Daniel; Pace, Evan. Nicholls – Ernestine, Alex; Hatcher, Cayden (7); Bollinger, Austin (7); Tarver, Adam (8); Goff, Daniel (9) and Tucker, Alex.

Win-Koestler, Carlisle (2-2) Loss-Ernestine, Alex (1-2) T-3:10 A-545
HR SLU – Byers, Ryan 2 (7); Crites, Carson (9).
Weather: 66 cloudy and NNW 11 mph
Ernestine, A faced 3 batters in the 7th.

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Damon Sunde

Damon Sunde

Associate Director of Sports Information, Southeastern Louisiana University

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