Southeast faces the Billikens today, but all eyes are on critical series with Tennessee Tech.
Southeast Missouri State will play its final nonconference baseball game of the season today when St. Louis University visits Capaha Field for a 3 p.m. first pitch.
At the same time, the Redhawks will keep a keen eye on their final Ohio Valley Conference series that looms critical, meaning they won't tax any of their primary pitchers.
Following today's game, Southeast will host Tennessee Tech for a 3 p.m. doubleheader Friday and a 1 p.m. game Saturday.
The Redhawks, 18-30 overall, are in seventh place in the 10-team OVC with a 9-15 record. Tennessee Tech is a sixth-place 10-14. The top six finishers qualify for next week's conference tournament.
While the three squads behind Southeast could still factor into the mix, the bottom line is that a sweep definitely gets the Redhawks into the tournament and winning two of three would also likely do the trick.
"With the way the season has gone, it's really amazing we've still got a shot going into the last weekend," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "Hopefully things will work out for us."
Before Tennessee Tech comes to town, the Redhawks will try to put together a two-game winning streak and even the season series with St. Louis University.
The Billikens, who are having one of their best seasons in years, rallied from a 10-5, eighth-inning deficit to stun the visiting Redhawks 11-10 on April 4. SLU scored three runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth.
SLU, which won just 13 games last year, is 27-23 overall and 14-10 during their first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference. That mark has the Billikens fifth among 14 league teams.
"They're having a good year, and they handed us one of our many really tough losses this season," said Hogan, whose squad has suffered 10 one-run defeats.
Hogan said junior left-hander Asif Shah is a strong possibility to start on the mound for the Redhawks today, although it's not likely that any of their pitchers will go very long. The same probably holds true for the Billikens.
"Nobody will be extended, and I'm sure St. Louis will be in the same boat," Hogan said.
Southeast athletic teams won four OVC regular season titles during the 2005-2006 school year, which led the conference.
The Redhawks claimed OVC championships in women's indoor track, women's outdoor track, men's outdoor track and women's basketball. Southeast also won the OVC postseason tournament in women's basketball.
Eastern Illinois, Samford and Tennessee Tech all captured three OVC regular season championships.
"Winning four conference regular season titles and one postseason title certainly is an accomplishment for our program," Southeast athletic director Don Kaverman said. "The track program is responsible for three of the titles. The track teams and coach Joey Haines should be proud of their accomplishment and what it means to our overall program."
The OVC all-sports standings for men and women will be released in a few weeks.