HAMMOND, La. – Southeastern Louisiana continued its climb in the Southland Conference standings with a walk-off, 2-1 win over second-place Sam Houston State in 11 innings Friday at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.
The Lions (30-15, 16-9 Southland) jumped into third place, bypassing Houston Baptist in the process, and now sit one-half game back of Sam Houston (30-16, 15-7 Southland).
Neither starting pitcher earned a decision, but both factored heavily in the outcome of the game.
Southeastern reached Bearkat starting pitcher Heath Donica, the Southland’s ERA leader, for a run in the first inning.
Ryan Byers, a senior from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, led off the first with a single up the middle. After he was sacrificed to second, Byers scored on Carson Crites’ two-out, RBI single to left-center field.
Lion starting pitcher Mac Sceroler, the conference leader in wins, made the lead stand up for the next 7.1 innings. In the process he broke the school record for consecutive scoreless innings, eventually stretching his string to 36.2 straight and besting the mark set by former teammate Tate Scioneaux in 2015.
The Lions threatened to expand their lead in the seventh.
Drew Avans, a junior from Alabaster, Alabama, smacked a one-out, opposite field double over the head of the left fielder. He was thrown out at the plate by the center fielder Bryce Johnson, attempting to score on Derrick Mount’s single up the middle.
Johnson kicked off the Bearkat rally in the ninth, leading off the inning with a single to right field. He advanced to third when Taylor Beene followed with a single to left. After Sceroler got Lance Miles to pop out to second baseman Carson Crites, setting the new record for consecutive scoreless innings, designated hitter Clayton Harp pulled an RBI single to right to tie the game.
Sceroler buckled down, fanning the next two batters to end the inning and set a new personal high in strikeouts.
Reliever Josh Green (4-0) worked out of jams in both the 10th and 11th for the Lions, stranding multiple runners each time.
In the 11th, Bearkat reliever Riley Cooper issued a one-out walk to Brennan Breaud. He advanced to second on Crites’ two-out single to left and scored, just under the tag at the plate, on Avans’ single to center.
Green earned the win, working two scoreless innings in relief. He allowed three hits and one walk, striking out one.
Sceroler, a junior from Denham Springs, Louisiana, allowed one run on six hits in nine-plus innings. He walked a pair and fanned a career-high 13 batters.
Cooper suffered the loss, allowing the winning run to score in 0.2 innings of work. He allowed a pair of hits and one walk, also striking out one.
Donica worked 10 innings, allowing one run on six hits. He walked one, hit one and struck out nine batters.
Avans (2-for-5), Byers (2-for-5) and Crites (2-for-5) each turned in multi-hit performances for the Lions.
The win was also the 150th of head coach Matt Riser’s career at Southeastern, giving him a record of 150-78 in his fourth season.
The series continues Saturday at 2 p.m. with sophomore right-hander Corey Gaconi (4-4, 2.77) getting the starting nod for Southeastern versus Bearkat freshman left-hander Kyle Backhus (3-3, 3.72).
The game can be heard in the Hammond, Louisiana, area on KSLU 90.9 FM, and worldwide online or through the TuneIn Radio app (search for KSLU). Fans can keep up with the game through live statistics or by following @SLUathletics on Twitter.
Streaming video is available on LionVision, Southeastern’s subscription-based video stream.
Links for audio, video, stats, gameday promotions and tickets can be found on the baseball schedule page at www.LionSports.net.
Southeastern 2, Sam Houston State 1 (May 05, 2017 at Hammond, La.)
Sam Houston State… 000 000 001 00 – 1 9 0 (30-16, 15-7)
Southeastern…………. 100 000 000 01 – 2 8 0 (30-15, 16-9)
Pitchers: Sam Houston State – Donica, Heath; Cooper, Riley (11) and Rojas, Robie. Southeastern – Sceroler, Mac; Green, Josh (10) and Wasinger, Daniel; Pace, Evan.
Win-Green, Josh (4-0) Loss-Cooper, Riley (0-2) T-2:50 A-1093
Weather: Clear 73, NW 13 mph