5 run first inning leads Jags past UNO

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MOBILE, Ala. – The University of South Alabama baseball team used a five-run first inning and a career night from right-hander Nick DeSantis to defeat New Orleans 10-7 Tuesday at Stanky Field.

DeSantis (2-0) recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts without issuing a walk, and allowed three runs on five hits in a career-high 6 1/3 innings in relief to earn the win. UNO left-hander Christopher DeMayo (0-2) allowed seven runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in 2 2/3 innings in the loss.

"Nick came in and did a great job," USA head coach Mark Calvi said. "He got his leadoff outs and racked up a bunch of strikeouts, so I am super proud of his effort. We hit some balls really hard tonight. There weren't a lot of hits on the board, but we pushed them (UNO) on the bases. I was really proud of how our guys responded tonight; we played good defense and pitched the ball really well so I was super proud to see that."

South Alabama (5-3) jumped out to a five-run lead in the bottom of the first. Drew LaBounty led off the inning with a double off the left-center field wall, and advanced to third on a passed ball. Will Luft drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. A wild pitch on a strikeout allowed Jared Barnes to reach first, and UNO catcher John Cable's throw sailed into right field on the play to allow both LaBounty and Luft, as well as allow Barnes to reach second, for a 2-0 Jaguar lead. Eddie Paparella followed with an RBI single back up the middle to plate Barnes for a 3-0 USA advantage. A wild pitch from UNO left-hander Christopher DeMayo allowed Wells Davis to score from third and push the Jaguar lead to 4-0. Paparella scored the final run of the inning on a fielder's choice off the bat of Dylan Hardy for a 5-0 lead.

New Orleans (6-3) answered with four runs in the top of the third. Samuel Capielano led off the inning with a single to center field, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jared McKay followed with an RBI double to left-center field to cut the USA lead to 5-1. An RBI sacrifice fly to left-center field by Tristan Clarke later in the inning cut the Jaguar lead to 5-2. Owen Magee then delivered a two-out, two-run single to right field to cut the UNO deficit to one run.

USA loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the third before pushing across a run. Davis reached on a one-out single, and Kyle Bayles reached on a two-out single before a two-out walk by Adam Wolfe loaded the bases. Dylan Hardy then drew a walk to force home Davis for a 6-4 Jaguar lead. LaBounty followed with an RBI single back up the middle to score Bayles to extend the USA advantage to 7-4.

The Jags loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth on two hit by pitches and a walk. Wolfe then grounded into a double play, but Davis scored on the play to double the Jaguar lead at 8-4. A wild pitch by UNO right-hander Ryan Leone allowed Paparella to score from third one batter later for a 9-4 lead. Hardy drew a two-out walk, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch before LaBounty drew a walk to put runners at the corners. LaBounty stole second then moved to third on a wild pitch, which allowed Hardy to score and push the USA lead to 10-4.

New Orleans pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the seventh on a two-out, two-run double to right-center field by Clarke to cut the Jaguar advantage to 10-6.

A two-out RBI single through the left side of the infield by Capielano in the top of the eighth accounted for the game's final run.

LaBounty went 2-for-3 with a double, one RBI, one run scored and one stolen base to lead the Jaguars at the plate. Paparella fininshed 1-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored, and Hardy drove in two runs and scored one. Capielano went 3-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored to lead the Privateers offensively.

USA will return to action this weekend when it travels to Pensacola, Fla., to compete in the Cox Diamond Invitational. The Jags will open the tournament against Southeastern Louisiana at 6 p.m. at Blue Wahoos Stadium.