Redhawks drops series to Govs

Monday, April 24, 2006

Southeast dropped to ninth place in the OVC with a 7-2 loss to Austin Peay.

Asif Shah gave Southeast Missouri State coach Mark Hogan the kind of performance he was looking for.

But Brad Daniel did the same for Austin Peay coach Gary McClure -- and perhaps even more -- to ruin Shah's first Ohio Valley Conference start on the mound.

Daniel, normally the Governors' closer, pitched 8 1/3 strong innings in just his second start of the season as Austin Peay beat Southeast 7-2.

The Sunday afternoon victory at Capaha Field gave the Govs the series win, after the teams split Saturday's doubleheader.

Austin Peay, the defending OVC tournament champion and this year's preseason conference favorite, improved to 23-17 overall and 7-8 in league play. The Govs moved into a fifth-place tie in the 10-team OVC.

Southeast fell to 15-22 and 6-9, as the Redhawks dropped into ninth place more than halfway through their conference schedule. Only the top six finishers qualify for the league's postseason tournament.

"We just haven't been able to get over the hump," said Hogan, whose squad has lost four of its five OVC series. "It's disappointing."

Hogan certainly wasn't disappointed with Shah, a junior left-hander who replaced Derek Herbig in the conference rotation after Herbig struggled in his last two outings and Shah impressed during three straight nonleague starts.

Shah gave the Redhawks an opportunity to win the series as he allowed just one earned run and three hits through seven innings, although Southeast trailed 2-1.

Austin Peay broke things open late, reaching Shah for two eighth-inning runs and then clipping reliever Josh Parham for three runs in the ninth as the Govs built a 7-1 lead.

Shah (2-2) struck out a career high 10 batters. He gave up eight hits and three earned runs while walking four.

"He pitched like I expected, like the way he has been," Hogan said. "He gave us exactly what we wanted, but we were just a zero against Daniel. You have to give him credit, and it was a good call by their [coaching] staff."

Daniel, a senior right-hander, is one of the OVC's top closers with five saves. He recorded one of those Saturday by pitching the final 1 2/3 innings of the opener.

Without a consistent third starter, McClure turned to Daniel.

"I thought he threw great yesterday," McClure said. "Today, we felt like this was such a big series, we felt like whatever he gave us, if he gave us three or four innings, whatever, we just wanted to get off to a good start."

Daniel (3-1) allowed seven hits and two runs in 8 1/3 innings, with seven strikeouts and four walks. Daniel, whose only other start this year came Feb. 25 against Dayton, had a five-hitter through eight innings.

"He's so gutsy," said McClure, who also had plenty of praise for Shah. "That was one of the best games we've had pitched against us."

Austin Peay's 11-hit attack was highlighted by two hits and four runs batted in from Tommy Smith, who entered the contest with just 12 RBIs all season.

Also for the Govs, Ryan Kane went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Kane pushed his hitting streak to 36 straight games, which is the nation's longest current streak.

Kane also passed former Southeast star Kerry Robinson for the second-longest hitting streak in OVC history. The conference record is 42 straight by Austin Peay's Chuck Abbott in 1996.

Freshman Andrew Graham went 3-for-4 to lead the Redhawks eight-hit attack.

Omar Padilla added two doubles and increased his team-leading total to 13. Padilla had two hits in all three games of the series. Five of Southeast's hits Sunday were doubles.

The Govs broke a 1-1 tie with an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning, then pulled away with their two-run eighth and three-run ninth.

Southeast threatened slightly in the bottom of the ninth, getting three hits, including an RBI single from Chris Gibson. But the Redhawks left two runners on base, as they stranded nine for the game.

"We had chances, we just didn't have anybody step up," Hogan said.

Southeast returns to action Tuesday against Kansas in the Best of the Midwest Tournament in Kansas City, Kan. The Redhawks will play Missouri in that event Wednesday.

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