Redhawks score in ninth to edge N. Colorado 14-13

Monday, March 3, 2008
Southeast Missouri State's Matt Wagner celebrated with teammates after his home run during the fifth inning Sunday against Northern Colorado at Capaha Field. (Fred Lynch)

Southeast avoided a four-game sweep with a winin Sunday's finale.

The Southeast Missouri State baseball team had to huff and puff in order to break its three-game losing streak.

Southeast saw eight-run and six-run leads evaporate Sunday, but the Redhawks finally posted a 14-13 victory over visiting Northern Colorado.

After Northern Colorado won the first three games of the weekend series, the Redhawks (3-4) needed 4 hours and 25 minutes to finally dispatch the Bears (5-4).

"It was a very wild game," junior first baseman Matt Wagner said.

Southeast Missouri State's Tyrell Cummings received congratulations from head coach Mark Hogan at third base after hitting a three-run homer in the first inning.

Wagner ultimately ended the marathon contest at Capaha Field with a two-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning, breaking a 13-13 deadlock.

"To win feels good," said Southeast coach Mark Hogan, whose squad fell 4-1 and 4-2 in the first two games of the series before suffering a 7-3 defeat. "The first two games could have gone either way.

"They've got a veteran club, and they showed it. It was a very good series."

It appeared as if the Redhawks would salvage the series finale with ease when they led 8-0 after three innings and 13-7 heading into the eighth.

But the Bears rallied with three in the eighth and three in the ninth to forge a 13-13 tie.

Southeast Missouri State's Sean Zollner connected for an RBI single during the fifth inning Sunday against Northern Colorado at Capaha Field. (Fred Lynch)

Sean Zollner led off the Southeast ninth with a single and Tony Spencer sacrificed.

Jim Klocke was walked intentionally, and a fly ball moved Zollner to third base with two outs.

Tyrell Cummings was walked intentionally to load the bases, which brought all-Ohio Valley Conference preseason selection Wagner to the plate.

"I was just looking for something I could drive," Wagner said.

Wagner drove the first pitch from Sean Peery into right field for a clean single that plated Zollner and ended the contest.

"He [Peery] threw an offspeed pitch over the plate," Wagner said.

After the first three games of the series had been dominated by pitching and defense, Sunday's affair was marked by offense and a strong, tricky wind that contributed to nine errors.

Southeast made five errors, after committing just four errors in its first six games. Still, the Redhawks couldn't complain.

"We really needed this one to take something away from the weekend," Wagner said. "They have a very good team, and it was a good series."

Right fielder Cummings, a junior college transfer from Oklahoma, belted two home runs, a three-run shot and a two-run blast.

"I was seeing it and hitting it," said Cummings, who leads the Redhawks with three homers, 11 RBIs and nine runs scored. "I had a good day, and we bounced back well."

Justin Wheeler, a juco transfer from California who has played third base and second base so far, had two hits and three RBIs. He leads the Redhawks with a .367 average, along with two homers and 10 RBIs.

"This helps us a lot. It gives us some confidence back," Wheeler said.

Said Hogan: "Tyrell and Justin have been great additions for us, just like we thought when we signed them."

Wagner had two hits, including his second homer of the season. He drove in three runs.

Also getting two of Southeast's 13 hits was juco transfer Tony Spencer, who has played second base and shortstop. He scored two runs.

Spencer is now the Redhawks' regular shortstop after sophomore Nick Harris suffered a knee injury in the season opener that will sideline him for at least four weeks.

Spencer, batting .292, is second on the squad with seven runs scored from his leadoff spot.

"Where would we be without him?" Hogan asked.

True freshman third baseman Trenton Moses from Advance High School, making his second start, added a hit and scored two runs.

Although Moses has just 10 official plate appearances, his .300 average is third on the team.

"He's done very well so far," Hogan said.

Juco transfer Josh Manning, the last of Southeast's four pitchers, recorded his first Division I victory.

Manning obtained the final out in the eighth with the bases loaded, after Northern Colorado had scored three runs to pull within 13-10.

Manning gave up three runs in the ninth as the Bears tied the contest, but all three runs were unearned. He got a strikeout to end the ninth with runners on first and third.

"He came in and did a good job," Hogan said.

Southeast plays at Saint Louis University at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: