Lions walkoff win over the Privateers moves Southeastern LA. into Southland title series

Matt Riser and SLU will face McNeese St. in the Southland Conference championship series.
Matt Riser and SLU will face McNeese St. in the Southland Conference championship series.
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 10:14 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The No. 2-seeded Southeastern Louisiana University baseball team rallied to defeat No. 3-seeded New Orleans, 4-3, Sunday in 10 innings at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field, working its way back through the losers bracket to advance to the championship series of the Southland Conference Tournament.

After dropping their tournament opener Thursday evening to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the Lions (28-28) won four consecutive games over the next three days.

Southeastern fell behind, 2-0, in the second inning. Starting pitcher Lance Lauve issued a leadoff walk before Privateer third baseman Jeissy De la Cruz hit his fifth home run of the season.

The Lions cut the deficit in half almost immediately. Tyler Finke drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half of the inning. After stealing second base, he scored on Christian Garcia’s one-out RBI single to left field.

UNO (30-23) extended its lead with an unearned run in the fourth.

SLU kept the offensive pressure on the entire game, putting runners on base in every inning.

The Lions pulled within a run in sixth on Connor Manola’s second home run of the season. The solo shot to left was the 16th of the tournament for Southeastern, establishing a new conference record.

Another run in the seventh tied the game. Finke drew a walk leading off the inning, his third free pass of the game. Pierce Leavengood followed with a single to right, sending Finke to third. When Leavengood stole second, the catcher’s throw skipped into center field allowing Finke to score.

SLU relievers Hayden Robb, Dalton Aspholm and Gage Trahan turned in a pair of scoreless innings each in relief of Lauve, shutting down the Privateer bats.

In the 10th, Rhett Rosevear singled up the middle. Preston Faulkner, who was intentionally walked in each of his two previous trips to the plate, followed with a hard ground ball to second. In an attempt to turn an inning-ending double play, second baseman Amani Larry recorded the out on Rosevear but his throw to first was wide of the bag.

With Shea Thomas at the plate, Faulkner stole second without a throw. It was the Lions’ seventh steal of the game and 19th of the tournament, blowing past the previous tournament records for both. Down 0-2 in the count, Thomas fouled off a pitch before working the count back even. He drove the next pitch from reliever Jack Williams down the right-field line for a double, plating Faulkner with the winning run.

The game-winning RBI was Thomas’ 13th of the tournament, also establishing a new conference record.

Trahan (4-3) earned the win, allowing one hit and one walk. He also struck out one. Williams (7-2) suffered the loss, surrendering one run in 2.2 innings pitched.

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