Indians seek streak, momentum

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Southeast faces Lipscomb, looks for back-to-back wins for first time this season.

By Marty Mishow ~ Southeast Missourian

Southeast Missouri State University's baseball team will try to put a winning streak together for the first time this season when Lipscomb visits Capaha Field for a 2 p.m. doubleheader today.

The 4-8 Indians have not posted more than one consecutive victory so far, but they are coming off last Wednesday's 9-4 triumph over visiting St. Louis.

Lipscomb, from Nashville, Tenn., is 6-10. The Bisons are coming off a two-game weekend sweep of Austin Peay, which competes along with Southeast in the Ohio Valley Conference.

"Hopefully we'll be able to get a streak going," Southeast senior shortstop Zach Borowiak said. "I think it's just a matter of time before we put things together."

Southeast coach Mark Hogan is looking for the same thing, but he knows the Indians can't overlook the Bisons.

"This is an important day because we don't play again for a week and we need to continue building off the good game we had against St. Louis," Hogan said. "But Lipscomb won't be easy for us. They have a good ballclub and I expect them to be tough."

The Indians, who have faced a rugged schedule so far against the likes of Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Memphis and Missouri, have improved at the plate in recent outings after a slow start.

Bolstered by 11 hits in each of their last two games, Southeast has raised its team batting average to .259.

"We're showing signs at the plate," Hogan said. "I feel like we have the hitters to be a very good offensive ballclub."

Senior second baseman Justin Christian, an Auburn transfer, continues to lead the Indians offensively with a .348 average. He is also first in home runs with four and runs batted in with 12 while stealing six bases without being caught.

"He's really been a great addition to our club," Hogan said.

Borowiak is batting .327 after a recent hot streak. He has two homers and 10 RBIs.

Senior left fielder Brian Hopkins has two homers and 11 RBIs to go along with a .298 average.

Senior third baseman Denver Stuckey has pushed his average to .280 after a slow start.

And freshman right fielder Aaron Fangman has been a pleasant early surprise with a .286 mark.

Southeast continues to try and sort out a pitching staff that suffered heavy graduation losses from last season.

Senior lefthander Tim Alvarez has been the Indians' only consistent hurler so far as he has all their victories. Alvarez, Southeast's top returning pitcher from last year, is 4-0 with a 2.25 earned-run average.

No other Southeast hurler has an ERA of less than 8.16 as the team mark is 7.36.

"Pitching is a serious question for us," Hogan said. "But our guys threw well in the fall and we think they will again."

Alvarez and hard-throwing righthander Bill Clayton, a Southern Illinois transfer, are scheduled to be today's starters. Clayton is 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA, but he has worked just 6 1/3 innings.

Lipscomb, which has also played a tough schedule, has a team batting average of just .230. Nathan McCorkle is batting .321 with 15 RBIs and Chris Parker is at .327 with eight RBIs.

The Bisons' ERA is 5.40. David Ayre (2-0, 1.96) and Todd Boucher (1-1, 2.45) have been the top starters.

Today's doubleheader continues an eight-game homestand for the Indians, who return to action next Tuesday against Division II Lincoln.

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