SLU holds off Islanders, clinch conference series
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Southeastern Louisiana University baseball team held off Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 7-5, Saturday at Chapman Field to claim the opening series of Southland Conference action.
Southeastern (14-9, 2-0 SLC) took an early lead once again, picking up a pair of runs in the second inning on the way to back-to-back wins over A&M-Corpus Christi (11-13, 0-2 SLC).
Connor Manola got the offense going with a one-out single in the second inning, his first of three hits in the game. TJ Salvaggio followed with a single, putting a pair on. An errant pickoff attempt allowed both runners to advance into scoring position. Clay Cook dropped down a squeeze bunt and both runners scored on the play.
SLU expanded its lead in the third, pounding out five consecutive hits to plate four more runs.
Tyler Finke pulled a one-out triple into the gap in left-center field. Jake Killingsworth followed with an RBI single to center. Shea Thomas doubled, putting a pair in scoring position. Champ Artigues plated both with an RBI single to center. Manola drove in Artigues with a double to left.
Southeastern doubled down on the momentum as starting pitcher Will Kinzeler retired the side in order, but the Islanders would not go away quietly. The next time around the Islander bats got to Kinzeler, plating three in the fourth to cut the SLU lead in half.
Following a leadoff home run in the fifth that pulled A&M-Corpus Christi within two, 6-4, head coach Matt Riser went to the bullpen for Reid Reynolds. The right-hander shut down an Islanders’ offense that came into the series eighth in the nation in hits.
A senior from Heidelberg, Mississippi, Reynolds allowed one unearned run in his three-inning stint and surrendered just one hit.
SLU picked up an insurance run in the seventh. Shea Thomas pulled a one-out single through the left side of the infield. He advanced to second on a groundout and then came home to score the Lions’ seventh run of the game on Manola’s third hit.
Lance Lauve closed out the game with a pair of scoreless innings, preserving the win for Reynolds (1-0) and earning his second save of the season. Islander starting pitcher Colin Purcell (2-1) suffered the loss, allowing six runs – four earned – in four innings pitched.
Manola (3-for-4) tied a career-high with three hits. He also picked up a pair of RBIs and scored once. Killingsworth (2-for-4) and Thomas (2-for-4) joined Manola with multiple hits in the game. Artigues and Cook also drove in a pair each. Thomas scored twice.
The series wraps up at 1 p.m. Sunday with a pitching matchup that features SLU junior right-hander Andrew Landry (2-2, 3.54) and Islander left-hander Zach Garcia (1-2, 7.83).
Sunday’s game will be carried on ESPN+. Live stats will be available online at www.LionSports.net and in the Lions Gameday Experience app. Fans can also receive in-game updates on Twitter by following the @LionUpBaseball account
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