Junior Shawn Semple tosses career-high 15 strikeouts in complete-game win over HBU
NEW ORLEANS – Taking on one of the top teams in the Southland Conference on Friday evening, the University of New Orleans baseball team rallied behind a complete-game effort from junior right-handed pitcher Shawn Semple in a 3-1 victory over Houston Baptist at Maestri Field at First NBC Ballpark.
The Swedesboro, N.J., product threw his first nine-inning compete game of the season, while falling two strikeouts shy of matching the program record with a career-high15 in the victory. With over two weeks left in the season, Semple already has 88 strikeouts, a career-high for the junior.
“I thought Semple was brilliant out there,” head coach Blake Dean said. “Easily his best outing he has had in his career here. He’s the best we got and he showed why he is our Friday starter today with the gutsiest performance I have seen this season.”
New Orleans (23-22-1, 11-11 Southland Conference) took the lead in the fourth inning, using a single from junior left fielder Jay Robinson to score senior designated hitter Hezekiah Randolph. Randolph rounded the bases again in the sixth inning off a solo-home run to add to the lead, while a single from senior second baseman Samuel Capielano scored senior shortstop Aaron Palmer to make it 3-0 in the seventh.
HBU (22-19, 14-8) managed to get on the scoreboard with two outs in the ninth off a single after Semple tossed back-to-back strikeouts. With runners on first and second and the go-ahead run at the plate, Semple managed to get the Huskies’ batter to fly out to sophomore center fielder Orynn Veillon for the final out.
“I went out there and asked him how he was feeling,” Dean commented on his mound visit after HBU got on the scoreboard in the ninth inning. “He said ‘I feel fine’. I told him that he was around 147 pitches and that this would be his final batter so he could either get him out or he was out. He battled back from a 3-0 count and ended up getting him out to end the game.”
Overall, the Privateers scatted 10 hits, with junior catcher John Cable, Capielano, Randolph and Robinson all posting two hits.
“I thought we did well against their pitcher,” Dean said. “He is their Shawn Semple, their best arm. We put together some tough at bats and managed to score runs when we needed them.”
For HBU, Tyler Deperta-Johnson boasted three hits with their lone run. Addison Russ got the start for the Huskies and allowed three runs off nine hits in 6.1 innings with six strikeouts and two walks.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, at 2 p.m. Following the weekend series, UNO is back in action on Friday, May 12, when they begin a three-game series with Nicholls. For tickets to future Privateers athletic events, contact the UNO Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 280-GAME (4263) and season tickets can be purchased over the Internet by clicking HERE.