Feb. 28, 2009
HAMMOND, LA - The Sacred Heart baseball team came out swinging in its 2009 season opener. The Pioneers launched five homers but couldn't hold on to an 8-3 lead and fell at Southeastern Louisiana 10-9 on Friday night.
The Pioneers wasted no time getting to Lion pitcher Chris Cappo after Chris Whittemore reached first on an error with one out in the top of the first. Senior Jeff Hanson was then hit by a pitch to put two on. After a strikeout, junior Jeff Heppner, a transfer from Vermont, stepped up and clubbed his first homer as a Pioneer to give SHU a 3-0 lead.
The Lions got one back in the bottom of the inning off SHU starter Chris Barthel, but senior Frank Bainer lifted a solo shot in the top of the second to make it 4-1. Again Southeastern Louisiana answered but Hanson hit a solo shot to dead center to lead off the third inning. Senior Tyler Santos followed with a shot of his own to left center to give the Pioneers a 6-2 bulge and chased Cappo from the game.
Hanson put SHU up 8-3 in the top of the fourth with a two-run double to left center off reliever Josh Bailey. The hit chased home Phil Tantillo, who singled to lead off the inning, and Steve Tedesco who was hit by a pitch.
Barthel got through a scoreless fourth inning before running into trouble in the fifth. Ty Summerlin led off the frame for the Lions with a double and scored when the next batter singled. After the next batter reached on a SHU error, Barthel was lifted in favor of junior Jared Balbach. He got the first man he faced, but then walked two straight batters to force home a run. A groundout scored another runner and a Balbach balk forced in another. When all was said and done, the SHU lead had shrunk to 8-7 after five.
The Lions took a 10-8 lead with a three-run sixth off Balbach. The SHU bats stayed quiet until the top of the eighth when Paul Schmidt led off the inning with a solo shot to right, but reliever Ryan Collins set down the next three batters to get out of trouble. He worked around a one-out walk to Hanson in the ninth to secure the win. Collins worked the final 4 1/3 and the Schmidt homer was the lone hit he surrendered.
The two teams will hook up for the second game of the three-game series at 1:00.