HAMMOND, La. – Southeastern Louisiana scored single runs in three of the first four innings and three Lion pitchers combined to hold off Central Arkansas in a 3-2 Southland Conference win at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.
The win helped the Lions (34-16, 20-10 Southland) sweep the series from Central Arkansas (28-23, 15-12 Southland), giving Southeastern its third consecutive season of at least 20 conference wins.
Ryan Byers, a senior from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, beat out an infield single to open up the bottom of the first inning. He advanced to second base when Brennan Breaud, a sophomore from Norco, Louisiana, beat out a bunt single.
Byers advanced to third base on a fly ball to right field by Taylor Schwaner and scored on a groundout to second by Carson Crites.
Designated hitter Webb Bobo, a senior from Prattville, Alabama, cranked a solo home run to deep right-center field with one out in the second. The blast was Bobo’s third of the season and second in as many plate appearances going back to the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Southeastern scored the eventual winning run in the fourth.
Derrick Mount, a senior from Saucier, Mississippi, led off the inning with a double down the left-field line. After Bobo drew a walk, the Bears brought in reliever Brandon Hagerla to replace starting pitcher Mark Moyer.
Catcher Daniel Wasinger, a junior from El Paso, Texas, sacrificed both runners into scoring position. Mount scored on Jacob Seward’s groundout to third.
Central Arkansas broke through against Lion starting pitcher Carlisle Koestler in the fifth.
Koestler walked designated hitter Dusty Wright to lead off the inning and Eddie Sanchez followed with a single through the left side. Center fielder Michael Haun sacrificed both runners into scoring position.
Wright scored on Keaton Presley’s RBI single up the middle and Sanchez scored on a fielder’s choice grounder to second off the bat of Jansen McCurdy to pull Central Arkansas within a run.
Lion relievers Payton Robinson and Josh Green shut the door on the Bears, stranding the potential tying run at third in each of the final four innings.
Twice Hunter Strong, the third-leading hitter in the conference, came up to the plate with a chance tie the game. Both times, against Robinson in the seventh and Green in the ninth, he was the final out of the inning.
Koestler (4-3) earned the win, allowing both runs in 5.2 innings pitched. He scattered four hits and a pair of walks, striking out two batters. Robinson tossed 1.2 scoreless innings in relief, surrendering a pair of hits.
Green earned his third save of the season, working the final 1.2 innings without allowing a run. He scattered one hit and one walk.
Moyer (5-3) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on eight hits and one walk in three innings of work.
Byers (3-for-4) and Mount (2-for-4) led the Lions at the plate.
With the win, the second-place Lions sit 1.5 games back of league-leader McNeese. Southeastern, which has wrapped up its Southland schedule, can finish anywhere from first to third.
The Lions could share the regular season title if Lamar sweeps a three-game conference series from the Cowboys this upcoming weekend and Stephen F. Austin takes at least a pair from Houston Baptist.
HBU, which swept Sam Houston State this weekend, sits one-half game back of the Lions.
Southeastern returns to the road Tuesday for the final time during the regular season, traveling to Biloxi, Mississippi, for a game against No. 19-ranked Southern Miss (40-12).
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at MGM Park, home of the Biloxi Shuckers (Double-A, Milwaukee Brewers). Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.MGMParkBiloxi.com or calling (877) 344-2174.
Southeastern 3, Central Arkansas 2 (May 14, 2017 at Hammond, La.)
Central Arkansas…. 000 020 000 – 2 7 0 (28-23, 15-12 SLC)
Southeastern……….. 110 100 00X – 3 10 4 (34-16, 20-10 SLC)
Pitchers: Central Arkansas – Moyer, Mark; Hagerla, Brandon (4) and McCarty, Justin. Southeastern – Koestler, Carlisle; Robinson, Payton (6); Green, Josh (8) and Wasinger, Daniel.
Win-Koestler, Carlisle (4-3) Save-Green, Josh (3) Loss-Moyer, Mark (5-3) T-2:30 A-1006
HR SLU – Bobo, Webb (3).
Weather: Partly Cloudy 84, NE 5 mph
Moyer, M. faced 2 batters in the 4th.