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Strong Pitching Keeps Southeastern Unbeaten

Source: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) Felix Dieguez allowed only one run in eight innings to lead No. 5 Southeastern (Fla.) to an 8-1 win over No. 7 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) Tuesday evening at the 2018 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.

With the win, the Fire improve to 57-7 on the season and 3-0 in their first-ever World Series appearance. Southeastern will play No. 6 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. PDT.

Dieguez, a junior lefthander from Tampa, Fla., scattered six hits and allowed only one run. He also struck out six and walked one to improve to 7-2 on the season.

“Felix on the mound was the story of the game for us,” said Southeastern head coach Adrian Dinkel. “We were looking to get five innings out of him and he gave us eight so that was huge.”

Once again, Manuel Mesa led the way offensively for Southeastern. The junior ended the night 3-for-5 at the dish with one run scored and one RBI. Through three games at this year’s World Series, Mesa is hitting .600 (9-for-15) with three doubles and one triple.

A two-run home run by Dan Valerio – his 17th of the season – highlighted a four-run third inning for Southeastern. Mesa sparked the rally with a leadoff double on the first pitch of the stanza. He scored three pitches later on a Dominic Anagnos single to right-center.

The Fire made it a 5-0 ballgame with another run in the fourth.

Freed-Hardeman put a dent in the Southeastern advantage, 5-1, in the sixth when De’Mikyle Holmes shot a single into right field that scored Wes Brooks from third. However, one run was all the Lions could muster as a groundout ended the frame with runners stranded on first and second.

Southeastern broke the game open with three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Ivan Nunez scored first via a wild pitch before a Mesa bunt single scored Valerio and Adam De La Cruz.

Freed-Hardeman starter Austin Steel (11-3) took the loss for the Lions. The freshman, who tossed a complete game in his first World Series appearance, surrendered eight runs (seven earned) and 10 hits in 7.2 innings.

Brooks and Holmes provided a majority of the offense on the evening for Freed-Hardeman. The duo accounted for four of the Lions’ six hits on the evening.

The defeat drops Freed-Hardeman to 46-15 on the season. The Lions will face No. 2 Georgia Gwinnett tomorrow at 3 p.m. PDT. That game will be a rematch of the contest played on Sunday.

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