Riser, Lions end big year

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2014

BATON ROUGE —An historic season for Matt Riser in his first year as head baseball coach at Southeastern Louisiana came to an end Sunday.

The Lions feel to Houston 9-5 in the fifth game of the Baton Rouge Regional in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.

The loss, coupled with a loss to host LSU on Friday, eliminated the Lions from the event and ended the season for the SLU.

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Southeastern committed six errors in the loss to the Cougars, including four in the second inning that allowed Houston to take a commanding 7-0 lead that the Lions could never recover from.

“We have been playing good baseball for a couple weeks, and again, it was just an inning that got away from us,” Riser said. “At the end of the day, it’s baseball and it happens. Usually, if you play clean baseball, you get the win. When you look back at the tournament you look at two innings that really hampered us a little bit, the eighth inning against LSU and the second inning today.”

On Friday, SLU led LSU 4-2 late before several miscues in the field helped the Tigers rally for an 8-4 win.

Sandwiched between the two losses, however, was the Lions first postseason win in 22 years.

The Lions made it to their first regional in 20 years after winning the Southland Conference tournament.

Then, on Saturday, they won their first postseason game since 1992 when they beat Bryant University 2-1 in a 10-inning elimination game. The Lions were nearly flawless in that one. They committed just one error in a game that ended when right fielder Andrew Godbold gunned down a runner at the plate.

It was just the second regional victory in school history and first since beating Hawaii 22 years ago in the Tucson regional.

“I couldn’t be any more proud of this group of guys,” Riser added. “If you look at the adversity we’ve faced throughout the year, started out 9-8, worst start we’ve had since I’ve been there, six-game losing streak, longest losing streak we’ve had since 2007 and, at the end of the day, it’s one of the greatest years Southeastern has ever had.”

After eliminating SLU, Houston beat LSU Sunday night. LSU and Houston met for the regional championship Monday night.