Alvarez sets win record in Indians' road win

Saturday, May 17, 2003

MURRAY, Ky. -- Southeast Missouri State University's Tim Alvarez has made his mark as one of the nation's premier pitchers this year primarily through a starting role.

But Friday, Alvarez turned to relief to break the school single-season record for wins.

After starter Jon Nourie worked four strong innings, Alvarez entered the game against host Murray State with a comfortable 10-2 lead and proceeded to throw three scoreless innings, which gave him the victory in the Indians' 13-8 triumph.

Alvarez, a senior left-hander, improved to 13-3, breaking the school mark he had held with Todd Pennington, Brad Purcell and Brandon Smith. Alvarez also entered this week tied for first nationally in wins.

"It's a tremendous honor for Tim to break the record," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "He was in some tremendous company with those guys and now he's up there all by himself. He's set the bar really high."

Hogan originally planned to start Alvarez in the three-game weekend series that concludes the regular season. But Alvarez has been suffering arm fatigue after throwing nearly 100 innings this year.

So, to have Alvarez fully rested and ready to go for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament that starts Wednesday, Hogan decided to get his ace only a few innings of work Friday. After Nourie threw 95 pitches, the call went to Alvarez. He allowed one hit with three strikeouts and three walks.

Southeast, which has been eliminated from contention for its second straight OVC regular-season title, improved to 28-18 overall and a third-place 12-6 in the league. The fourth-place Thoroughbreds are 20-26 and 9-9.

A doubleheader was to have been played Friday, but rain delayed the start nearly two hours to 3 p.m. Since MSU's field has no lights, only one game was held. The doubleheader will instead be played today beginning at noon.

The Indians showed no ill effects from having to wait for the game to begin. They banged out 18 hits -- including six doubles and a triple -- and piled up an early 10-0 lead. Southeast led 13-2 before the Thoroughbreds made it respectable with a six-run ninth that featured five of their seven hits.

"We really had a good performance," Hogan said. "We swung the bats well, we again didn't have an error and Nourie and Alvarez both pitched very well."

Nourie, who began the season in the conference rotation but was removed recently after struggling, got the starting nod Friday after turning in several strong relief performances. He no-hit MSU through three innings and finished allowing two runs and one hit with six strikeouts and four walks.

"Nourie's performance was very encouraging," Hogan said. "He just gives us another option for the conference tournament."

Hogan also shuffled his lineup, moving Gary Gilbert to the second spot from down in the order, dropping Brian Hopkins from second to third and moving Justin Christian from third to fifth behind cleanup man Zach Borowiak. Hopkins, Borowiak and Christian are the squad's three top hitters, with Hopkins also leading the OVC in home runs with 18.

That lineup worked well Friday. Gilbert went 3-for-5 and scored two runs. Christian also was 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and two runs scored.

Tristen McDonald, continuing to shake off a slump that has lasted much of the year, went 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored. McDonald has an 11-game hitting streak and is 20 for his last 40.

Hopkins, Borowiak, Denver Stuckey and Eric Hoffman all added two hits. Stuckey had two RBIs and scored twice, Hoffman scored twice and Seth Moulton delivered three RBIs.

Southeast scored in each of the first four innings to lead 10-0 and the Indians cruised the rest of the way, the only trouble coming in the ninth when MSU rallied against freshman pitcher Brad Bumpus, who had worked a scoreless eighth and eventually nailed down the victory.

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