NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Southeastern Louisiana erased an early Stephen F. Austin lead and cruised to a sweep of the Lumberjacks with an 11-7 win Sunday at Jaycees Field.
The Lions (28-15, 15-9 Southland) swept the three-game Southland Conference series from SFA (25-21, 13-8 Southland), leaping past the Lumberjacks in the standings and into a tie with third-place Houston Baptist.
SFA struck for three runs in the first inning, taking their only lead of the series.
Back-to-back two-out singles, with a stolen base in between, plated a run in front of Josh Evans’ two-run home run to right-center field.
Southeastern responded immediately.
Carson Crites, a senior from Amarillo, Texas, smashed the first pitch of the second out of the park to straightaway center field for his 11th home run of the season. Lumberjack starting pitcher Tony Grabowske (4-3) then sandwiched a pair of walks around a strikeout.
Daniel Wasinger, a junior from El Paso, Texas, drove an RBI single up the middle to cut the SFA lead to one and Grabowske hit Jacob Seward with a pitch to load the bases.
Brennan Breaud, a sophomore from Norco, Louisiana, pulled a two-out, two-run double through the right side to give the Lions the lead, 4-3, and chase Grabowske.
Taylor Schwaner, a junior from Slidell, Louisiana, greeted reliever Erik Nouis with a three-run homer to right. Schwaner’s 13th home run of the season staked Southeastern to a 7-3 lead and extended his conference-leading RBI total to 61.
Lion starting pitcher Carlisle Koestler settled in after Evans homer, retiring 21 of the next 24 batters.
Meanwhile, Southeastern expanded its lead with a run in the fifth on Webb Bobo’s suicide squeeze bunt and two more in the sixth. Bobo ripped a two-out double in the ninth to drive in Derrick Mount with the Lions’ final run of the game.
SFA reached a pair of Lion pitchers for four runs in the ninth.
Koestler earned the win, working a career-high eight innings. The sophomore from Vicksburg, Mississippi, allowed three runs on four hits and a pair of walks, striking out six batters.
Grabowske, the first of six Lumberjack pitchers, suffered the loss. The right-hander allowed six runs in 1.2 innings. He surrendered three hits and two walks, hit one batter and fanned three.
Crites (2-for-4) and Mount (2-for-5) turned in multi-hit performances for the Lions.
Southeastern returns to the road Tuesday, wrapping up its regular-season series with Tulane (22-23). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Southeastern 11, Stephen F. Austin 7 (Apr 30, 2017 at Nacogdoches, Texas)
Southeastern……….. 070 012 001 – 11 10 1 (28-15, 15-9)
Stephen F. Austin… 300 000 004 – 7 8 2 (25-21, 13-8)
Pitchers: Southeastern – Koestler, Carlisle; Hileman, Evan (9); Green, Josh (9) and Wasinger, Daniel; Pace, Evan. Stephen F. Austin – Grabowske, Tony; Nouis, Erik (2); Vest, Will (4); Garcia, Ivan (7); Starks, Tyler (8); Hagy, Austin (9) and Huber, Jarrod.
Win-Koestler, Carlisle (3-2) Loss-Grabowske, Tony (4-3) T-2:54 A-215
HR SLU – Schwaner, Taylor (13); Crites, Carson (11).
HR SFA – Evans, Josh (10).
Weather: Overcast, low 60s, much cooler
Hileman, E. faced 2 batters in the 9th.