Southeastern Louisiana pitcher Tate Scioneaux has a simple explanation for his postseason surge.
“At this point, there is no tomorrow,” he explained. “So you have to keep competing.”
Thanks to another solid Scioneaux postseason outing Saturday, there is another tomorrow for the Lions.
The sophomore from Reserve helped them win their first postseason game since 1992.
Although Scioneaux didn’t factor into the decision, he scattered seven hits and struck out five — and most importantly, he allowed only one run in the 10-inning 2-1 win-or-go-home victory over Bryant University.
“That’s why we like our bunch in this tournament,” Southeastern coach Matt Riser said. “We knew we were going to be better on the mound. We knew we had a couple guys on the front end, rotation-wise, that will allow us to hold some opponents down. Bryant has swung the bats well all year. They came in hitting over .300, and I think every guy in the lineup was hitting over .300.”
Well, everyone except their No. 9 hitter.
But the Bulldogs were able to get just one run against Scioneaux and the Lions. That one came in the fifth inning.
It was the first run Scioneaux had allowed in postseason play. He threw 11 shutout innings in the Southland Conference to help send the Lions to the postseason for the first time since 1994. He threw 5.2 innings in a start against Sam Houston State in the conference tournament and another 5.1 innings in the championship game against Central Arkansas to earn Most Valuable Player honors.
Perhaps Southeastern assistant coach Barrett Morgan deserves some of the credit. Morgan coached Scioneaux during his high school days at Riverside Academy.
Scioneaux was playing mostly catcher at the time.
“We turned him into a pitcher,” Morgan said. “He didn’t pitch much before then, but he had that arm speed and his competiveness and a will to win. We just worked at it. Between his junior and senior year, he made a huge jump in miles per hour. His fastball is really electric, and he just battles his tail off.”
Saturday’s victory was Southeastern’s second ever win in a regional and first since beating Hawaii in the first round of the 1992 Tucson regional.
“Obviously another great performance by Tate,” Riser said. “He didn’t have his best stuff, but he did a good job of just continuing to compete. When you have confident kids that continue to compete, the results are usually pretty good.”
Mason Klotz threw the final four innings and picked up the win.
“Tate gave us a great start,” Klotz said. “My job was to come in to hold those guys where our team could come out with a ‘W.’ ”
Scioneaux knew Klotz would.
“I can always go longer, but coach thought that was the best decision for the team,” Scioneaux said. “I’m comfortable with anyone coming in. I knew Mason would get the job done.”
The game ended in the 10th when right fielder Andrew Godbold caught a shallow fly ball and threw out a Bryant runner at the plate, setting off a celebration among the Lions fans who made the short 45-minute drive to Baton Rouge.
Based solely on Scioneaux’s calmness during postgame interviews, it would’ve been hard to tell his team had just won its first postseason game in his lifetime.
But on the inside, he admits he was ecstatic.
“This is crazy; this is awesome,” he said. “To win your first regional is exciting. I really don’t know how to act.”
For Scioneaux, it was his first time pitching at Alex Box Stadium as a collegiate player. He last pitched there during a summer league game.
“It’s a great stadium and great atmosphere, and you want the ball in this type of stadium,” he said. “I was nervous the first inning, but after that I got into my groove.”
He is rated the third-best pro prospect in the Southland Conference, according to Baseball America.
Morgan isn’t surprised.
“He is just a bulldog,” Morgan said. “He was the same way in high school. He always wants the ball. That’s who he is.”