SUGAR LAND, Texas — For seven innings Thursday, Southeastern and McNeese State were locked into a scoreless pitchers’ duel that featured more strikeouts than hits.
Southeastern outfielder Webb Bobo changed all of that with one big swing in the eighth inning.
Bobo blasted a three-run home run into a strong wind and over the right-field fence, highlighting a six-run breakout as the Lions beat McNeese 10-0 in the second round of the Southland Conference tournament at Constellation Field.
“We were hitting it really hard early, but we weren’t finding holes,” Webb said. “Then it all got going in the eighth inning. It’s been a long time since we’ve shown up as an offense like this, but it’s great to be back.”
With the victory, the Lions (38-18) advance to face the winner of UNO and McNeese at 4 p.m. Friday.
UNO and McNeese will face off in an elimination game at 9 a.m. Friday.
The Lions had taken the lead on an RBI single from Carson Crites one batter earlier, but it was Bobo’s blast — his first since April 30 — that sparked SLU’s offense.
“He’s a strong young man, and that ball got out of there in a hurry,” Southeastern coach Matt Riser said. “It was on a line, and he is one of the few that can do that.”
Derrick Mount added a two-run double later in the inning to expand the Lions’ lead to six just a couple minutes after they were locked in a scoreless tie.
While all of the offense came in the final two innings, SLU pitcher Mac Sceroler was on top of his game all day.
Sceroler pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just five hits and one walk, while striking out nine Cowboys.
“I was just wanting to throw strikes and get people out and give our team a chance to win,” Sceroler said. “Finally, our bats got hot and put up a bunch of runs, and that’s helpful when you are on the mound.”
McNeese starter Ethan Stremmel was equally impressive for seven innings, holding the Lions scoreless on just four hits. Things fell apart in the eighth, however.
Daniel Midyett and Jameson Fisher each singled and Crites drove in pinch runner Ryan Byers for the game’s first run.
McNeese was still one pitch away from getting out of the inning, but Bobo’s blast changed everything.
Jacob Seward then walked, Sam Roberson singled and both scored on Mount’s double.
The Lions tacked on four more runs in the ninth inning on a Fisher sacrifice fly and another big hit from Bobo — a two-run double. Seward capped the scoring by knocking in Bobo to make it 10-0.
Bobo, Crites, Roberson and Mount each had two hits for the Lions, who didn’t get their first base runner until the fourth inning.
“We needed this win because it builds confidence, and hopefully we will come out on fire tomorrow,” Sceroler said.
McNeese (30-24) was led by Lewis Guilbeau, who had two hits in four at-bats. The Cowboys finished with only five hits.
Now the Lions will watch the 9 a.m. contest between two teams they’ve already beaten.
“You come out here and win the tournament, get an automatic bid and you get to sit back on Monday,” Riser said. “Now we are in the driver’s seat, but we still have a lot to do from here on out.”