Despite their best efforts, Southeastern (37-22) couldn’t keep up with Rice (33-30) and were eliminated by the Owls for a second year in a row when they dropped Sunday’s game 9-5.
The Owls stayed alive and now have to turn around and play LSU tonight in what is a closeout game for LSU.
Southeastern opened the scoring with a single from Carson Crites to leadoff the top of the second inning. The Lions stuck to the mantra of pressuring teams early and Crites stole second base and advanced on a flyout to center, easily scoring on Derrick Mount’s single past the shortstop. A double play bailed Rice out of any further damage.
Rice sling-shotted in front in the third inning with back to back singles to open the inning from Charlie Warren and Addison Moss. Warren scored by beating the throw home on a grounder from Ryan Chandler to first, allowing Chandler to reach base. A double from Ford Proctor scored Moss. Dane Myers then deposited a three run no-doubter to push the Owl lead to 5-1.
But as always, Southeastern scrapped back immediately. Brennan Breaud singled to left and scored when Taylor Schwaner hit a ball off of the batter’s eye in dead center field to pull the Lions to a 5-3 deficit.
Rice responded by adding another run after Charlie Warren doubled in the fourth inning and scored on a Ford Proctor single to right to give Rice a three run lead. The Owls loaded the bases in the fifth inning with one out and Southeastern nearly got out of the jam when Addison Moss tapped one to the second baseman Carson Crites, but Crites bobbled the exchange and couldn’t make the throw to first in time. Rice got a much-needed insurance run and extended their lead to 7-3.
Taylor Schwaner responded directly by once again hitting one to dead center, but this one bounced off the wall for a loud double. Crites singled him in, but tripped while rounding third base and was tagged out. An error and a single put two more Lions on the base, but Webb Bobo was picked off trying to take second and was dead meat at shortstop. Southeastern’s aggressiveness had come around and bitten them, costing them two outs and a potentially big comeback inning.
But Rice got the run back in the top of the seventh when Will Proctor singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw. Proctor scored when Tristan Grey hit a groundball at ate up first baseman Derrick Mount, again bringing Rice’s lead to four.
And again, Southeastern pushed another run across with a solo shot from Ryan Byers in the top of the seventh inning. And as always, Rice scored one of their own when Chandler singled up the middle and scored on a double from Dane Myers. Again, four runs difference stood between the two teams and that was too much for the Lions to make up and their season ended in Baton Rouge after being defeated by Rice.