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Loyola advances with a historic victory over Bethel on Thursday night

Loyola press release - May 5, 2017

Late last night, the Loyola University New Orleans baseball team earned our first ever victory in the SSAC tournament. Trailing 8-2 in the seventh inning, we scored 7 runs in the last two innings to win 9-8. We play in an elimination game tonight at 7 p.m. Howl to the Wolf Pack!

Coming off an 8-2 loss at the hands of top-seeded No. 10 Middle Georgia State yesterday, the No. 8 seed Loyola University New Orleans baseball team returned to Paterson Field on Thursday to battle the No. 5 seed Bethel University on day two of the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Baseball Championship.

With both teams having one loss entering the day, the loser of Thursday's matchup would be eliminated from the tournament while the winner would advance to take the winner between No. 1 seed Middle Georgia State and No. 4 seed Mobile on Friday night.

Torrential rain throughout the early afternoon caused the game that was originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m. to be pushed back all the way to 7:45 p.m. which meant it was lights on at Paterson Field for this elimination contest.

The odds were not in the Wolf Pack's favor on Thursday as Loyola entered the game on an eight-game losing streak and having never beaten the Wildcats (0-9) in program history. In the three meetings between these teams earlier in the year, Bethel outscored Loyola 34-9 including an 18-1 outburst which saw the Wildcats put up a SSAC-leading 24 hits in the contest. It appeared that Bethel was going to continue its streak against the Wolf Pack on Thursday as the fifth-seeded team raced out to 8-2 lead entering the final two innings. With its back against the wall and history not on its side, Loyola once again showed its signature grit by climbing all the way back over the next two innings to stun the favored Wildcats 9-8 late Thursday night.

Thursday's victory marked the first SSAC Championship win for the Wolf Pack in program history (joined the conference in 2011) and the first time ever that Loyola has defeated Bethel on the diamond.

Loyola 9 – Bethel 8

Highlights

With Loyola down 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Ben Condara (JR/Houston, Tx.) cranked his second home run of the season over the left field wall to knot the game at 1-1 through two innings.

The Wildcats tacked on four runs in the third to go up 5-1 before a RBI single by Jesse Jordan (SO/New Iberia, La.) brought Loyola within three at 5-2.

Bethel used the next 2.5 innings to extend the lead to 8-2 and looked to cruise to the easy victory.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Nathan Law (FR/Arab, Ala.) connected on a RBI single up the middle to score Charlie Seiter (SO/Mobile, Ala.) before Alexander Lorenzo (SR/Miami, Fla.) brought in Blake Toscano (SR/Metairie, La.) with a single to right. Law would later score on a Colby Poston error to bring the game to 8-5 entering the eighth.

Jason Rousell was able to keep Wildcats off the board in the top of the eighth and the score remained 8-5 heading into the eighth.

Following a lineout, Jesse Jordan was hit by a pitch to land one man on for Loyola. Rawlings Elam (JR/Houston, Tx.) followed with a double out to right before John Hernandez (JR/Tampa, Fl.) reached on a walk. Spencer Rosenbohm (JR/Daphne, Ala.) sent a shot through the infield to score Jordan and then Blake Toscano came through with a huge two-RBI single to score both Elam and Seiter to knot the game 8-8. Nathan Law then gave the Wolf Pack its first lead of the evening with a clutch RBI single to right to put the Wolf Pack on top 9-8.

With the game on the line, Gary Cavallo Jr. (FR/Slidell, La.) took the mound in the ninth and shut down the Bethel offense to secure the 9-8 victory on Thursday night.

Toscano went 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored to lead Loyola. Law put up two hits and two RBI in the game while Condara added two hits, two runs, and a RBI. Lorenzo chipped in two hits and one RBI while Rosenbohm tacked on two hits and a RBI in the victory.

On the mound, Jason Roussel (JR/Baton Rouge, La.) (2-6) got the victory after allowing two runs (no earned) on three hits with three walks and one strikeout. Cavallo Jr. earned his first save of the season after only allowing one hit in 0.2 innings.