Southeastern Louisiana got it right this time.
One day after a late-inning collapse caused the Lions to lose their grip and the lead in a loss to LSU, they had all the answers against Bryant University.
Sam Roberson’s sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th drove in the go-ahead run, and AndrewGodbold threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the bottom of the inning as Southeastern edged Bryant 2-1 at the Baton Rouge regional.
The late heroics kept fourth-seeded SLU (38-24) alive to play at 2 p.m. Sunday against the LSU/Houston loser. The win was Southeastern’s first in NCAA regional play since an 8-0 win over Hawaii in 1992.
“We pride ourselves on what we call the championshipinning,” Lions coach Matt Riser said. “Once we got to the ninth, we were talking about one (championship) inning at a time. If you win the championship inning, you win the ballgame. You keep grinding it out.”
The game had been tied since the fifth when Bryant (42-16) got an RBI single from Carl Anderson.
Southeasern broke the tie in the top of the 10th after Jameson Fisher and Godbold led off with singles.
Daniel Midyett’s infield single to first loaded the bases before Roberson followed with a sacrifice fly to center off of Bryant reliever Trevor Lacosse (4-4) to bring Fisher home.
It was the only earned run allowed by Bryant pitching in 20 innings of regional play.
“(Lacosse) made some really good pitches trying to get me to hit the ball on the ground,” Roberson said. “I just waited back and put a good swing on it.”
Bryant wasn’t ready to go easily.
Dan Cellucci hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the 10th. Anderson followed with a single to center, and the Bulldogs were in business with no outs and runners at the corners.
SLU’s Mason Klotz, in his fourth inning of relief, dug in to strike out pinch hitter Tom Gavitt. An intentional walk to Jordan Mountford loaded the bases for designated hitter A.J. Zarozny, but Bryant couldn’t push home the tying run.
Zarozny lifted a fly to short right where Godbold caught it, then threw out Cellucci two steps from home plate for a game-ending double play.
“I thought A.J. hit it pretty good off the bat, but the wind blew it back in,” said Bryant coach Steve Owens, who also coaches third base. “If I had to do it over again then, I would do it differently, but I made a decision. We’d scored one run in 10 innings, and I wanted (Godbold) to make a play. He made the play.”
Offensively, Bryant took an aggressive approach against Klotz and starter Tate Scioneaux. The Bulldogs had runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, but couldn’t break through until Anderson drove in Cole Fabio in the fifth.
“We were over-aggressive offensively today, and I think that happens when you’re pressing to score runs,” Owens said. “I didn’t think we did a good job of controlling our at bats. We swung at 2-0 balls many times.”
Bryant starter Craig Schlitter, the Northeast Conference pitcher of the year, got off to a shaky start, and was tagged for a run in the first. SLU’s Jacob Seward led off with a single and took third on an errant pickoff throw by Schlitter.
Seward came home on a wild pitch that left a runner at third with no outs. Schlitter got two shallow flies and a grounder to end the threat.
“It’s a big deal. We know that,” Godbold said of the win. “It’s been a while since we’ve been here. I think we’re 1-4 in regionals, but we don’t think about that. We’ll go one pitch at a time, one game at a time. Obviously, we’re not out of it.”