Lions one win from regular season title

Julian Service

Sophomore outfielder Julian Service consistently found his way on base during the series finale Sunday. Service reached base all five times he went to the plate. 
The Lion’s Roar / Sara Patrick

The Lions baseball team headed into a weekend series versus the University of Central Arkansas Bears with hopes of earning their first Southland regular-season championship.

After two wins against the Bears, the Lions sit one win away from that title, and the team already has a guaranteed place in the Southland Conference tournament May 20-23.

The weekend featured ups and downs for the Lions. Friday, they won 6-0 in a shut-out; the second shut-out in a row thrown by junior Tate Scioneaux. The pitcher extended his streak of not allowing a run to 20 innings following the game and did not allow a hit until the fourth inning. Scioneaux secured his second SLC Pitcher of the Week honor for his efforts.

“It feels good coming out here and winning two out of three against a good opponent,” said Scioneaux. “It was a great weekend.” 

The win on Friday brought the Lions a school record of 12-consecutive conference wins. However, the Bears rallied to snap the Lions’ winning streak Saturday. The Lions were in the lead early on, but fell to the Bears 10-9. 

In the final game of the series, the Lions rebounded to take the series against the Bears. The Lions came in strong from the start with infielders Carson Crites and Daniel Midyett hitting back-to-back home runs in a six-run fourth inning. 

“At the plate, Carson Crites had some big hits for us this weekend,” said head coach Matt Riser. “[We had] some big two-out knocks. A triple on Friday night. A two-out three-run home run today. It was a huge momentum swing for us.” 

The Lions added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, bringing their lead to 10-0. Junior pitcher Kyle Cedotal kept the Bears at bay until the seventh inning when Logan Preston hit a two-run homer for the Bears. 

“Our pitching staff threw really well with Tate Scioneaux’s performance on Friday night and Kyle Cedotal’s performance today almost for another complete game,” said Riser. “Obviously that’s where it kind of starts. They set the tone there.” 

The Bears added three more runs in the eighth inning, but could not bypass the Lions’ 11-5 lead in the end. 

Junior outfielder Julian Service walked nearly every time at bat Sunday, but contributed four runs toward the win that clinched the weekend series. 

“It felt pretty good,” said Service of his runs. “They didn’t really pitch to me the way I would have liked, kind of just walked all of them, stole a couple of bases any time I could get in scoring position. We always try to put our team in the right place to score.” 

Others who contributed to the Lions’ success at bat Sunday were Jacob Seward, Kevin Carr, Brett Hoffman and Ryan Byers. 

“It’s one game at a time,” said Riser. “We’re one game away from clinching this regular season. Now that goal’s number one. We just got to keep winning one game at a time and don’t get ahead of ourselves.” 

The Lions will take on the University of New Orleans Privateers this Thursday at UNO and return home Friday for a 6 p.m. match at the Pat. For more information, go to lionsports.net.