Redhawks baseball faces big EIU series

Friday, April 28, 2006

Southeast enters this weekend's games in ninth place in the OVC.

Southeast Missouri State has qualified for the Ohio Valley Conference postseason baseball tournament in each of coach Mark Hogan's first 11 seasons.

Hogan knows if the Redhawks are going to make it 12 in a row they'll have to put together a strong finishing kick.

More than halfway through the OVC schedule, the Redhawks find themselves in ninth place among 10 teams. Only the top six finishers make the tournament field.

The Redhawks, 15-24 overall, will carry a 6-9 OVC record into this weekend's three-game series at Eastern Illinois (22-17), which is tied for third with an 8-7 league mark.

There will be a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday and a 1 p.m. contest Sunday in Charleston, Ill.

"Every game is really big the rest of the way," Hogan said.

Southeast has 12 OVC contests remaining. Even though the Redhawks are just one spot removed from the basement, they are also only one game out of fifth place and just two games out of third place in the scrambled standings.

"We're still right there, but we have to start making things happen," Hogan said. "We've lost so many close games, which is kind of typical for a young club. We need to start turning some of those around, and hopefully that will come with added maturity."

The Redhawks will also need quite a finish to avoid their second straight overall losing record, and just Southeast's fourth since Hogan took over the program.

Southeast was 24-32 last year, but 15-11 in OVC play. Prior to that season, Southeast had posted seven consecutive non-losing records, including six winning marks.

The Redhawks figure to face a rugged test from Eastern Illinois, which is second in the OVC with a .303 batting average and features the league's top hitter in Mark Chagnon (.420).

Softball at OVC leader

The Southeast softball team, after suffering its first OVC series sweep of the season, will try to get back on track against the league's top squad.

First-place Tennessee Tech (42-13, 19-2) will provide the opposition in Cookeville, Tenn. There will be a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday and a 1 p.m. contest Sunday.

Southeast (27-15, 14-6) lost all three games at Samford last weekend.

Still, the Redhawks have already clinched their first winning season since the 2000 squad went 31-24.

Southeast has also equaled its victory total from last year, when the team went 27-28. The Redhawks have posted their most conference wins since 2001.

Gymnasts ranked 35th

The Southeast women's gymnastics team finished the season ranked 35th nationally for its highest final ranking since the 1997 squad wound up No. 23.

Southeast has matched its highest ranking from last season, when the Redhawks were No. 35 in the Feb. 21 poll.

The previous highest ranking for Southeast was No. 30 during the 1999 season. The program's highest-ever ranking was No. 16 during the 1997 season, which ended with Southeast No. 23.

Southeast recently made its first NCAA regional appearance since 1997 as the Redhawks earned one of only 36 regional berths across the country.

Volleyball adds two players

The Redhawks volleyball team added a pair of players to next year's roster with the addition of two Missouri high school seniors on Thursday.

Hannah Weis, a 5-foot-10 senior at Incarnate Word, will bring three state championships to Southeast next year. Weis earned all-state honors this past season as the Markers captured their third straight Class 4 title. Incarnate Word made it to the state final four in each of the past four seasons.

Brooke Boyer, a 5-11 senior at Herculaneum, will be a walk-on for the Redhawks next season. Boyer was a three-sport athlete at Herculaneum.

--From staff reports

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