*Courtesy – Southland Conference

LAKE CHARLES, La. – A pair of second-inning homeruns pushed fourth seed New Orleans to a 4-1 win over third seed Lamar in the two sides’ opening contest of the 2023 Southland Conference Baseball Championship on Wednesday.
New Orleans (34-22) moves on to a winners’ bracket game against fifth seed Northwestern State at 6 p.m. Thursday. Lamar (32-22) plays the winner of the Nicholls/McNeese game at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in what could be an elimination game for the Cardinals.
The Privateers provided all the offensive punch they would need with two outs in the top of the second.  Anthony Herron, Jr. and Jeissy de la Cruz singled and UNO went up 3-0 on Jorge Tejeda’s three-run homer to left. That was immediately followed by a solo homer to left by Issac Williams for a 4-0 lead.
Lamar cut into the lead in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly by Tanner Wilson, but the Privateers’ pitching stymied the Cardinals the rest of the way. Lamar had four runners get into scoring position in the final six innings, but all were stranded there. Only one runner advanced to third.
Blake Mitchell (11-3) struck out nine batters and allowed one run on four hits and a walk in 8.0 innings for UNO. Jacob Mead picked up his fifth save with a scoreless ninth inning.
The two homers blemished a 6.0 inning start for Jacob Ellis, who allowed five hits and struck out five, walking none.
For Lamar, SLC Player of the Year Ryan Snell’s ninth inning double was the Cardinals’ only extra base hit. For New Orleans, Tejeda went 2-for-4 including the three-run homer.