Lions set for clash with Southland leaders

Nearly two weeks ago the Lions suffered a one run loss to the then No. 3 ranked LSU Tigers. Lions head coach Jay Artigues said that the close loss was not a moral victory for his ball club, but since then the Lions have won five of their last six games, including consecutive series wins versus conference opponents Northwestern State and most recently Stephen F. Austin.
The Lions are playing arguably their best baseball of the season during the most important stretch as they will clash with the No. 1 ranked team in the conference in Sam Houston State, who the Lions trail in the Southland Conference (SLC) standings at No. 2. The two division leaders will face off for the first time this season in Huntsville, Texas in a best of three series beginning Friday, May 11, with the winner most likely being crowned SLC Champions with a No. 1 seed in the SLC tournament.
Southeastern will enter the weekend coming off of a dominating series victory over SFA, highlighted by a 12-11 come from behind victory Sunday. After a 4-3 win in the series opener on Friday followed by a 6-3 loss on Saturday the Lions claimed the series victory in walk-off fashion on Sunday afternoon.
“Both teams played hard and got after it, they swung the bats well and we swung the bats well,” said Artigues.
Junior Alex Marse hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to seal the deal for the Lions. Over the course of the game the lead changed five times. Southeastern trailed 9-3 to begin the sixth inning before scoring seven runs to take a 10-9 lead at the end of the inning.
The Lions success would be short lived as SFA’s Jordon Lenaburg doubled in the seventh inning to score Benson and tie the game. The Lumberjacks would reclaim the lead in the eighth inning when Bobby Loveless hit a single to score teammate Hunter Dozier and give SFA an 11-10 lead before Marse answered in the ninth with his late game heroics.
The Lions’ sent four pitchers to the mound before calling-up Stefan Lopez in the eighth inning for the save. Lopez claimed his conference and school record 18th save of the season, retiring three batters in his two innings pitched.
“Lopez, what can you say about him, he’s played great for us throughout his career,” said Artigues.
At the plate, the Lions accumulated 13 hits off of Lumberjack pitchers, led by senior catcher Jacob Fisher who went 3-for-3 with an RBI.
Southeastern will play its last two series of the season in the coming weeks as they Lions will take on the McNeese State Cowboys following the Sam Houston State series.
The Lions will then compete in post-season play in the Southland Conference tournament, taking place in San Marcos, Texas May 23-26.