Jeff Harkensee went 3-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs in an eight-run seventh inning as Southeastern Louisiana pulled away from a close game and held off South Alabama, 13-8, in a wild non-conference matchup Tuesday at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.
Jordan Hymel allowed two hits in five solid innings on the mound for Southeastern (20-10), which built a 13-2 lead after seven innings before South Alabama (14-14) scored six runs in the ninth.
Southeastern broke open a scoreless game in the fourth inning as it took advantage of a pair of Jaguar errors to score three unearned runs. Britt Gautreaux reached on a one-out error before moving to second when Cody Gougler was hit by a pitch by USA starter Carlton Paris (1-3). Both runners attempted to steal and Gautreaux scored when the throw from Jaguar catcher Brent Tanner sailed into left field, allowing Gougler to advance to third.
Jacob Fisher hit an RBI grounder to give the Lions a 2-0 lead and Justin Boudreaux followed two batters later with a double to right to drive in Brock Hebert.
Gougler and Fisher added RBI singles in the fifth inning to give Southeastern a 5-1 lead before breaking the game open in the seventh.
The Lions sent 12 men to the plate in the seventh as Cass Hargis led off the frame with a double down the right field line. The Lions then loaded the bases as Gautreaux drew a walk, Gougler was hit by a pitch before Fisher drew a walk to drive in Hargis. Hebert was then plunked – one of six times Southeastern was hit by a pitch – that allowed Gautreaux to score before Harkensee hit a two-out chopper over first baseman Brad Hook that drove in Gougler and Fisher.
Josh Cryer followed with an RBI double and scored when Hargis collected his second hit of the inning with an infield chopper before advancing to second on a throwing error – one of four committed by the Jaguars.
Hymel retired the first six batters he faced before Hook led off the third with a single to right. The former Lutcher High product gave up a run in the fifth when he took a liner from Jeff DeBlieux off the right forearm that allowed Hook to score from second.
South Alabama scored a run in the seventh to cut the deficit to 5-2 and had the bases loaded before Lion reliever Stefan Lopez came in the game and got Tanner to fly out to the warning track in right field.
The Jaguars scored six runs and sent 11 men to the plate in the ninth to close a 13-2 gap, but Southeastern reliever Dylan Hills got Logan Kirkland to foul out down the first base line to end the game.
The teams combined for 24 hits and used 13 pitchers – seven by Southeastern – with the Lions taking advantage of six walks and four USA errors. Each starter for Southeastern collected at least one hit with Hebert going 2-for-4 and Hargis finishing 2-for-3 to increase his career total to 265 hits, 11 shy of the school record set by Ty Summerlin.
Hook went 3-for-3 with two RBI, a pair of walks and three runs scored to lead South Alabama. Jerry Roam added a pair of hits for the Jaguars, who had 11 hits, while Kirkland went 1-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
Southeastern will return to Southland Conference action on Friday when it travels to face UT Arlington in a 6:30 p.m. contest at Clay Gould Ballpark.
South Alabama....... 000 010 106 - 8 11 4 (14-14)
Southeastern La..... 000 320 80x - 13 13 2 (20-10)
Paris, Bailey (5), Dees (5), Blankenship (7), Byrd (7), S. LeBlanc (8) and Tanner. Hymel, Pittari (6), Greenleaf (6), Lopez (7), Ott (9), Poche (9), Hills (9) and Fisher, Lucas (9).W – Hymel (3-2). L – Paris (1-3). E - Kirkland 2 (8), Tanner 2 (3), Hebert (10), Lucas (1). LOB - USA 11, SLU 12. 2B – Boudreaux (9), Cryer (9), Hargis (7). HBP - Kirkland, Hebert, Martin, Harkensee, Hargis, Gougler 2. SH – Roam (6). SB – Gautreaux (1), Gougler (3). CS – Hebert (5). Reached on CI - Lami. T - 3:03. A – 776.