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Indians win twice to close regular season
MURRAY, Ky. -- Southeast Missouri State University put an exclamation point on a fourth consecutive 30-win season by sweeping Saturday's doubleheader from host Murray State.
The Indians romped 10-4 and 6-0 in a pair of seven-inning games. They outscored the Thoroughbreds 29-12 to sweep the three-game series that marks the end of the regular season for both squads.
Southeast improved to 30-18 overall and 14-6 in Ohio Valley Conference play to finish second in the league, just a half game out of first place. MSU fell to 20-28 and 9-11, good for fourth place. The Indians open the OVC Tournament in Paducah, Ky., at 11 a.m. Wednesday against fifth-place Eastern Kentucky.
"It feels great to have another 30-win season, and I'm really proud of our ballclub," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "Out of 48 games this year, we only had 18 home games. To play 30 out of 48 on the road and end up with a 30-win season says a lot about this ballclub."
The Indians banged out 19 hits Saturday -- including three home runs, six doubles and two triples -- and received strong starting pitching performances from right-hander Ryan Forsyth and left-hander Stan Skakalski as Southeast's pitching staff continues to round into form entering the OVC Tournament.
Forsyth (5-2) worked five innings in the opener, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out four and walking one. James Beever hurled the final two frames and was touched for two runs on six hits.
Skakalski (4-0) hurled six shutout innings in the second game, giving up two hits, striking out four and walking two. Gary Gilbert finished with a perfect seventh.
"Forsyth and Skakalski were both tremendous," Hogan said.
Zach Borowiak homered in each game -- he now has 15 this season -- and went 4-for-7 with five runs batted in.
Denver Stuckey went 4-for-8 with two doubles; Gary Gilbert finished up a strong series with three hits, including his third homer of the season, four RBIs and three runs scored; and Brian Hopkins added three hits while scoring four runs.
Borowiak and Hopkins both have 59 RBIs for the third-highest single-season total in school history. They are just eight away from the record. Borowiak and Hopkins both doubled Saturday, giving each 19 for the season to rank fourth all-time at Southeast.
Saturday's first game was highlighted by two-run homers from Gilbert and Borowiak and sensational diving catches by center fielder Seth Moulton and second baseman Justin Christian in key situations that saved a combined four runs at the time and perhaps even more had they not ended innings.
Gilbert's two-run shot in the third inning put the Indians ahead for good at 3-1. Moulton's catch came in the fourth with Southeast ahead 3-2. Christian's catch came in the sixth with the bases loaded and the Indians clinging to a 7-4 lead. Southeast added three insurance runs in the seventh.
In the second game, Central High School product Craig Ringwald started and threw two shutout innings at Southeast before being removed to rest his arm for the OVC Tournament. The Indians broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the fourth inning and never looked back.