Lions edge Jags for final midweek game of the season


Samantha Sims

Lions players watch on during Southeastern’s 10-0 loss to No. 1 LSU at Alumni Field. (May 2, 2023 – Hammond)

Southeastern defeated South Alabama 5-4 on Tuesday night at “The Pat,” climbing to 22-25 on the year. 

SLU outhit USA eight to five and committed zero errors while their counterparts had two. The Lions had three different batters hit by a pitch and swiped seven bags as a team, which tied a single-game season high.

This isn’t anything new as Southeastern is fifth in the nation in HBPs with 110 and thirteenth in stolen bases per game with 2.21. SLU has successfully stolen 104 times for the campaign and has only been caught stealing on 23 occasions. 

Junior second baseman Rhett Rosevear and fifth-year senior center fielder Tyler Finke are a huge reason why the Lions are so proficient in these two categories. 

Rosevear is currently tied for sixth in the nation with 23 HBPs while Finke is fourteenth in stolen bases with 32 on the season. Both marks lead the Southland Conference. 

After a scoreless first inning of action, sophomore shortstop TJ Salvaggio broke the deadlock in the bottom of the second with a solo shot over the left field wall giving Southeastern a 1-0 lead.

Salvaggio tripled to left center on his next plate appearance and was scored via graduate catcher Connor Manola’s double in the bottom of the fourth as the Lions’ lead grew to two. 

The Green and Gold would double their advantage in the fifth with a pair of runs swelling the scoreboard to 4-0 after capitalizing off numerous Jaguar mistakes.  

Finke’s fielder’s choice turned into an error and scored freshman outfielder Dane Watts from third before senior third baseman Shea Thomas knocked a single up the middle to drive in Finke.

South Alabama committed an error, walked two, gave up a passed ball and surrendered a stolen base during the half inning. Both SLU runs were unearned. 

The Jags responded in the sixth through lead-off hitter Joseph Sullivan’s solo blast to break their goose egg on the night. It was the sophomore left fielder’s thirteenth long ball of the season, a team-high as well as USA’s first hit all game.

With no one on base during Sullivan’s punishment of the baseball, the score was still 4-1 in favor of Southeastern. However, the pendulum had suddenly swung to the away team’s dugout.

South Alabama would add two more runs to its total in the top of the seventh through sophomore center fielder Will Turner’s two-RBI double. 

The Jags weren’t done just yet, as junior third baseman Hunter Donaldson’s sac bunt tied the game at four in the eighth. The comeback was complete. 

Despite throwing away a four-run lead, the Lions countered in the bottom half of the inning by pouncing on USA’s inability to keep SLU off the base paths. 

Following redshirt senior first baseman Champ Artigues’ lead off single, junior pinch runner Joe Delaney took to first base with only one thing on his mind. 

The Destrehan native stole second, then stole third for good measure. Southeastern now had a man in scoring position with one lone out. 

Manola came up clutch with an RBI single representing that No. 18 proudly and giving SLU its lead back, 5-4. 

Redshirt junior closer Connor Spencer earned his second save of the season after striking out South Alabama’s last batter in the top of the ninth, preserving a Lions’ victory. 

The win means that the Green and Gold hold a three-game winning streak going into their final series of the year vs. Northwestern State in Hammond. 

The Demons (27-22, 12-9 SLC) are currently tied for second place in the conference with UIW and are two games out of first, only behind league leaders Nicholls. 

Southeastern (22-25, 6-14) will look to finish the season at .500 and save face for what has been overall a disappointing 2022-23 campaign. 

SLU was officially eliminated from Southland Conference Tournament contention after Sunday’s game three rain-out in Houston against HCU, despite winning both games one and two.

The last place Lions trail seventh place Lamar by three and a half games, therefore have zero mathematical chance to finish any higher than eighth in the conference standings. 

Eighth and ninth place will be left out of the 2023 edition of the SLC Tourney which will be hosted this year in Lake Charles.

Game one against Northwestern State will be held today at Alumni Field with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. 

Game two is tomorrow at 6 p.m. and will conclude with a firework show while game three (Senior Day) is set for Saturday at 2 p.m.

Come out and support your Lions for their final three games of the year!