Redhawks baseball to host two-game series with Missouri State

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Southeast Missouri State baseball coach Mark Hogan has been anxious for Corey Harness to make his first collegiate start.

That should happen today when Missouri State visits Capaha Field for a 5 p.m. contest.

The two-game, nonconference series concludes at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Harness was supposed to receive his first Southeast start last Wednesday against Division II Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

But that contest was rained out, so the redshirt freshman from Texas will get the ball today.

"I look forward to seeing him," Hogan said. "He's a very talented guy, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he performs."

Harness is a 5-foot-11, 175-pound right-hander from Spring, Texas, which is near Houston.

After sitting out last season as a redshirt, Hogan said Harness had a solid summer and fall, and has looked good during workouts.

Harness has appeared in two games in relief this season, spanning two innings. He has allowed one hit and one run, while striking out two and walking one.

"Our guys always say they hate to face him [in practice]," Hogan said. "He's an up-and-comer. I think he figures in the plans for us."

Hogan is trying to find out how many pitchers fit into the immediate plans for the Redhawks. Southeast has had five games wiped out by bad weather, which has limited the opportunities for pitchers.

Several hurlers besides Southeast's normal conference starters figure to take the mound during this two-game series.

"We're still trying to find out about a lot of guys," Hogan said. "Hopefully we'll be able to get both these games in and get a look at some guys on the mound."

Southeast hurlers should receive a stern test from the resurgent Bears, who are 14-5 overall and 2-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play. Missouri State has won six of its last seven games.

The Bears had an uncharacteristic down season in 2007 under 26th-year coach Keith Guttin, going 23-34 overall and 7-17 in the MVC.

Guttin has an 878-541 record with the Bears, averaging 35 victories per season, including seven 40-win campaigns. He led the Bears to their first College World Series berth in 2003.

"They've got a very good club," Hogan said. "Coach Guttin does a heck of a job."

The Bears lead the MVC with a .327 team batting average as they feature four of the league's top 12 hitters.

Ben Woodbury (.451) ranks second in the MVC, while Brayden Drake (.405) is third, Nolan Keane (.377) ninth and Ben Carlson (.371) 12th.

Carlson leads the MVC with six home runs.

Southeast is 8-7 overall and 2-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference after taking two of three over the weekend during its opening OVC series against visiting Tennessee Tech.

The Redhawks broke out offensively with 40 hits as they raised their batting average 25 points, to .273.

"We really hit the ball," sophomore catcher Jim Klocke said.

Missouri State swept last year's two-game series in Springfield, Mo., 16-3 and 9-5.

Renfrow honored

Southeast senior right-hander Dustin Renfrow was named the OVC co-pitcher of the week Monday.

Renfrow worked all nine innings of Saturday's 7-3 win over Tennessee Tech, allowing only four hits and one earned run. He struck out six and walked one.

Renfrow (1-1) is seventh in the OVC with a 3.00 ERA, while ranking fourth in strikeouts per nine innings. He has fanned 28 in 24 innings.

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