HOUSTON, Texas – Southeastern Louisiana scored early, and often, Sunday on its way to a 12-4, series-clinching victory over No. 21-ranked Rice at Reckling Park.
The Lions (4-2) built a 6-4 lead over Rice (3-5) before the Owls crumbled under Southeastern’s relentless offensive pressure, committing five errors.
Center fielder Jacob Seward, a senior from New Orleans, Louisiana, drew a walk from Rice starting pitcher Matt Canterino to open up the game. Left fielder Drew Avans, a junior from Alabaster, Alabama, doubled over the head of his counterpart, Chace Sarchet, in left.
With runners at second and third, and no outs, third baseman Taylor Schwaner, a junior from New Orleans, plated Seward with a groundout to short. Second baseman Carson Crites, a senior from Amarillo, Texas, drove in Avans with a single to left.
Rice cut the Lions’ lead in half with a run in the fourth.
Back-to-back singles by right fielder Charlie Warren and shortstop Ford Proctor, followed by a walk to catcher Dominic DiCaprio, loaded the bases with one out. First baseman Dane Myers plated Warren on a fielder’s choice that erased DiCaprio at second.
Southeastern responded by expanding its lead in the fifth.
Seward greeted reliever Zach Esquivel (1-1) with an infield single off the glove of third baseman Robbie Lammons to lead off the inning. After stealing second base, Seward scored on Schwaner’s one-out RBI single up the middle. After stealing second base, Schwaner scored on Derrick Mount’s two-out RBI single through the left side.
The Owls came back to tie up the game in the bottom half of the inning.
Lammons, designated hitter Darryn Sheppard and Sarchet opened up the fifth with consecutive singles to load the bases against Lion starting pitcher Corey Gaconi. With one out, Warren pulled a bases-clearing triple inside the first-base line and into the right-field corner.
The throw from right kicked past Schwaner, but he and Warren got tangled up when he slid into third. After breaking free of the entanglement, Warren was thrown out at the plate by Avans who was backing up the play.
Southeastern regained the lead in the seventh.
Avans reached on an error by Ford at shortstop to lead off the inning. After stealing second, he scored on Crites’ one-out double down the left-field line. Crites would advance to third and come home to score on a pair of passed balls by DiCaprio.
The Lions salted the game away with five unearned runs in the eighth and another unearned run in the ninth.
Evan Hileman (1-0), a junior right-hander from St. Rose, Louisiana, earned the win with four shutout innings in relief of Gaconi. Hileman surrendered three hits and struck out four batters.
Esquivel, the second of five Rice pitchers, suffered the loss. The right-hander allowed four runs, two earned, in 2.1 innings of relief. He surrendered five hits, walking and striking out one each.
Avans, Ryan Byers, Crites and Mount led Southeastern at the plate with two hits apiece. Crites drove in three runs while Avans and Seward each scored three times.
The Lions, who stole five bases in the game, had runners on in every inning except the third.
Southeastern continues its 8-game road trip this coming week, traveling to Nashville, Tennessee, for pair of games at No. 6-ranked Vanderbilt, Tuesday and Wednesday at 4 p.m.
THE MATT RISER SHOW
With the Lions on the road Monday, The Matt Riser Show is now scheduled to make its season debut Monday, March 6, at Buddies’ Bar & Grill on N. Morrison Blvd. Hosted by Allen Waddell, the show will be broadcast on flagship station KSLU 90.9 FM, in addition to Southeastern Sports Radio Network affiliates Kajun 107.1 FM, the Highway 104.7 FM and WFPR 1400 AM.
Southeastern 12, Rice 4 (Feb 26, 2017 at Houston)
Southeastern…….. 200 020 251 – 12 10 0 (4-2)
Rice………………… 000 130 000 – 4 10 5 (3-5)
Pitchers: Southeastern – Gaconi, Corey; Hileman, Evan (6) and Pace, Evan. Rice – Matt Canterino; Zach Esquivel (5); Glenn Otto (7); Kendal Jefferies (8); Brent Schwarz (9) and Dominic DiCaprio.
Win-Hileman, Evan (1-0) Loss-Zach Esquivel (1-1) T-3:08 A-2449
Weather: 74 degrees, 14-mph ESE wind