Hogan passes Uhls on wins list
Monday, April 2, 2007
Southeast won the opener 17-3, but dropped the second game 6-5.
MURRAY, Ky. -- The Southeast Missouri State baseball team has matched the program's best Ohio Valley Conference start by winning five of its first six league games.
But the Redhawks had somewhat mixed emotions Sunday after they narrowly missed out on the program's first 6-0 OVC record since joining the conference in 1992.
After routing host Murray State 17-3 in the first game of a doubleheader -- which came on the heels of Saturday's 6-5, 11-inning triumph -- Southeast saw a two-run, sixth-inning lead evaporate during a 6-5 loss.
That's how close the Redhawks were to sweeping their second straight OVC series.
"It's disappointing to give one up like this," senior shortstop Robby Moore said.
Said sophomore left fielder Matt Wulfers: "We feel like we let one get away."
Reflecting a bit further, however, the Redhawks acknowledged that beginning their OVC schedule 5-1 -- the only other time that has happened was in 2000 -- is certainly nothing to hang their heads about.
"That's still a real good start for us," Moore said. "You have to be happy."
Added Wulfers: "One of our goals as a team was to win every [OVC] series. We've done that so far."
Mark Hogan -- who with Sunday's victory passed the late Joe Uhls as the winningest coach in Southeast baseball history -- was also not about to fret despite losing the nightcap.
"That's baseball. You're not going to win every time," said Hogan, who has a 374-306-1 record in his 13th season at Southeast. "We were lucky to win yesterday. Winning two out of three and starting out 5-1 ... we'll take that any time."
Sunday's loss ended Southeast's seven-game winning streak and was just the Redhawks' second defeat in their past 14 games. Southeast is 19-8 overall.
"I'm thankful for the great run we've been on," Hogan said.
As for breaking the record of Uhls -- who coached at Southeast from 1960 to 1984 -- Hogan is appreciative and also glad to get the milestone out of the way so the focus can return to the squad.
"They [the players] made it easy for me," Hogan said. "It's kind of been the Mark Hogan show. Now we can start getting back to the team aspect."
After Southeast pounded out 17 hits -- including three home runs, six doubles and a triple -- in Sunday's opener, the Redhawks led the nightcap 4-0 in the fourth and 5-3 in the sixth.
But the Thoroughbreds (6-19, 3-3) rallied with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, then ended the contest with a run in the seventh.
The seventh began when Murray leadoff batter Matt Scheer reached on catcher's interference, as the home-plate umpire ruled that the mitt of Southeast freshman catcher Jim Klocke had nicked Scheer's bat.
Klocke was charged with an error, which marked the Redhawks' only error of the series.
"He [Klocke] told me he interfered with the guy," Hogan said.
Austin Swain, who was trying to sacrifice, drew a walk. A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third.
Murray senior second baseman Seth Hudson -- a Cape Girardeau Central High School product -- then singled to right past a drawn-in infield to score Scheer and end the game.
Hudson, hitting better than .300 for the third straight year, struck out in all four at-bats during Sunday's opener. He was glad to bounce back.
"I was struggling. It was just one of those games. I was happy to come through," said Hudson, who had two hits in the nightcap.
Senior right-hander Phillip Riley (4-2) took the loss. He had relieved freshman starter Josh Syberg with one out in the sixth.
There was absolutely no suspense in the opener as the Redhawks mauled the Thoroughbreds.
Freshman third baseman Nick Harris belted his team-high eighth home run of the season, while Wulfers and sophomore right fielder Daniel Schuh also homered.
Wulfers went 3-for-4 with a career-high six RBIs. Moore tripled and doubled, which produced three RBIs.
Senior left-hander Asif Shah (3-0) scattered eight hits and struck out eight in his second complete game of the season.
But the Redhawks could not repeat their offensive explosion in the nightcap.
"It's nice when we score like that, but that's not always going to happen," Wulfers said.
Klocke went 4-for-4 on the day, including three doubles, as he extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He also walked five times to reach base in all nine plate appearances.
Wulfers and sophomore first baseman Matt Wagner also had four hits apiece in the doubleheader.
The Redhawks play a two-game nonconference series at Missouri State (15-12, 2-4 Missouri Valley Conference), with starting times of 7 p.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Southeast resumes OVC play Friday with a home doubleheader against Jacksonville State to start a three-game series. The Gamecocks are 6-0 in league play, just ahead of Southeast.