PENSACOLA, Fla. – Southeastern Louisiana cruised past Seton Hall, 13-1, Saturday in the Cox Diamond Invitational at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
The Lions (6-4) broke through early against Seton Hall (3-6) starting pitcher Cullen Dana (0-2) and poured it on late.
Dana hit Southeastern catcher Daniel Wasinger with a one-out pitch in the second inning. Wasinger came around to score one batter later when right fielder Ryan Byers, a senior from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, smacked a triple into the gap in right-center field.
Byers scored when shortstop Brennan Breaud, a sophomore from Norco, Louisiana, reached on a fielding error by the second baseman.
Leading 2-0, the Lions added two more runs in the fifth to chase Dana from the game.
Left fielder Drew Avans reached on a bunt single to lead off the inning and third baseman Taylor Schwaner, a junior from New Orleans, Louisiana, drew a walk to put two on with no outs.
After the pair pulled off a double steal, Avans scored from third on a sacrifice fly off the bat of second baseman Carson Crites. Schwaner scored when designated hitter Derrick Mount reached on a throwing error by the shortstop.
The Lions erupted for six runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a bases-loaded double by Schwaner that cleared the bases.
All the while, Southeastern starting pitcher Corey Gaconi (1-0) was in cruise control. After allowing a single to Seton Hall’s leadoff batter, the sophomore from New Orleans, retired the next 20 batters he faced. Pinch-hitter Matt Toke snapped the string with a two-out infield single in the seventh.
Up 10-0, Southeastern added two more runs in the seventh, and tacked on one in the ninth, before the Pirates pushed across their lone run in the final inning.
Gaconi earned the win, the first of his career, after tossing seven shutout innings. He surrendered two hits and did not walk a batter. The right-hander fanned six, including four-of-five leading up to Toke’s pinch hit.
Tyler Booth, a freshman from Lake Charles, Louisiana, worked the final two innings, allowing one run on one hit and a pair of walks. The left-hander struck out two batters.
Dana was tagged with the loss, allowing four runs, three earned, in 4.2 innings pitched. He surrendered two hits and five walks. The southpaw hit a batter and struck out seven.
Avans and Crites led Southeastern at the plate, picking up two hits each. Schwaner drove in four and Crites picked up three RBIs. Avans scored three runs.
With the win, the Lions are now 2-0 in the Cox Diamond Invitational heading into the tournament’s final day.
Southeastern will send out junior right-hander Kade Granier as its starting pitcher in Sunday’s 3 p.m. game against Troy. The Trojans are slated to counter with senior righty Houston Mabray (1-0, 0.77).
Southeastern’s final game in the Cox Diamond Invitational can be heard in the Hammond, Louisiana, area on KSLU 90.9 FM, online and through the TuneIn Radio app (search for KSLU). Fans can also keep up with the game through live statistics or by following SLUathletics on Twitter.
Ticket sales for the Cox Diamond Invitational are being handled through the Blue Wahoos’ office, but links to purchase tickets online, in addition to audio and stats, are available on the baseball schedule page at www.LionSports.net.
Southeastern 13, Seton Hall 1 (Mar 04, 2017 at Pensacola, Fla.)
Southeastern…….. 020 026 201 – 13 9 0 (6-4)
Seton Hall………… 000 000 001 – 1 3 6 (3-6)
Pitchers: Southeastern – Gaconi, Corey; Booth, Tyler (8) and Wasinger, Daniel; Pace, Evan. Seton Hall – Dana, Cullen; Pacillo, Anthony (5); Thompson, Noah (6); Ponsiglione, Matt (8) and Villa, Chris.
Win-Gaconi, Corey (1-0) Loss-Dana, Cullen (0-2) T-3:17 A-777
Weather: Bright Sun… 60s, Breezy
Pacillo faced 4 batters in the 6th.