Redhawks batter Pine Bluff 19-0

Monday, March 19, 2007

Southeast outscored the Arkansas team 32-3 in the series sweep.

It's likely the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff could not get out of Cape Girardeau fast enough.

After the way the Southeast Missouri State baseball team treated the Golden Lions, who could blame them?

The Redhawks finished off a dominating three-game sweep of UAPB on Sunday afternoon with a 19-0 rout at Capaha Field.

It was Southeast's largest margin of victory since 2001, when it beat William Woods by 21 runs.

But the Redhawks actually scored more runs one time last year than they did Sunday, as they put up 21 against Tennessee Tech in 2006.

Southeast, which outscored UAPB 32-3 in the set -- two of the games were shutouts -- improved its record to 11-6 as it swept a series for the first time this year. The Lions fell to 4-15.

"It was a really good weekend for us," said Southeast coach Mark Hogan, whose squad has a four-game winning streak. "There were a lot of positives."

Where to begin with Sunday's superlatives?

Starting with freshman pitcher Josh Syberg wouldn't be a bad place.

Syberg, a left-hander, struck out 14, walked two and allowed three hits in six innings as he improved to 3-1 and took over the team lead in wins.

The product of Vianney High School in suburban St. Louis would likely have threatened Southeast's single-game school record of 17 strikeouts, set by John Holdner back in 1961.

But Hogan elected not to send Syberg to the mound in the seventh inning, with Southeast already ahead 14-0.

"What an outstanding performance," Hogan said. "We'd made up our mind he wasn't going into the seventh inning. You just want to be careful. There's no reason to push it this early."

The Redhawks' offense had been struggling entering the series, but that part of their game got well, at least for one weekend.

Southeast banged out a season-high 18 hits Sunday as it scored by far its most runs of the season. The previous high had been 10 runs, which came in a loss at Jackson State in the third game of the year.

The Redhawks scored 27 runs and had 29 hits in the final two games of the series as they increased their team batting average to .253.

"It was our best day of the year offensively, obviously," Hogan said.

Seven Southeast players had two or more hits, led by senior second baseman Omar Padilla, who went 4-for-5.

Sophomore first baseman Matt Wagner was 3-for-5 and drove in four runs, while senior designated hitter Asif Shah was 3-for-4. Shah homered, doubled and delivered four RBIs.

Freshman third baseman Nick Harris had a day to remember. Both of his hits were home runs, including his first collegiate grand slam, as he had six RBIs.

Harris, who is tied with Shah for the team home-run lead -- both have three -- is Southeast's leading hitter with a .333 average.

"He makes a lot of things happen for us," said Hogan of Harris, the Redhawks' leadoff hitter.

Senior shortstop Robby Moore and senior right fielder Daryl Graham both added two hits for the Redhawks.

Also getting two hits was freshman catcher Andrew Wiese, who entered late in the game and went 2-for-2. Those were his first collegiate hits.

The Redhawks had six doubles in addition to their three homers.

After a scoreless first inning, Southeast put up two runs in the second and the rout was on.

Shah's three-run homer highlighted a four-run third as the Redhawks went up 6-0.

A four-run fourth made it 10-0, and another four-spot in the fifth -- highlighted by a two-run Harris homer -- put Southeast up 14-0.

After a scoreless sixth, Harris belted his grand slam in the seventh to make it 18-0. The Redhawks closed out the scoring with a run in the eighth.

Padilla (.322) and Shah (.316) both pushed their averages above the .300 mark as they joined Harris in that department.

Southeast lowered its team earned-run average to a sparkling 2.95, and an errorless performance gave the Redhawks a solid .973 fielding percentage.

"Our pitching and defense have been good all year, and hopefully this is a good sign for our offense," Hogan said.

The Redhawks will try to keep their winning streak going this week as they tune up for Ohio Valley Conference play with a two-game series at Central Arkansas.

There will be 1 p.m. contests Tuesday and Wednesday against the Bears, who are 9-9 in their first season of Division I baseball.

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