MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Southeast Missouri State University picked up a much-needed doubleheader sweep Saturday to kick off a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series against Morehead State.
The Indians won the nine-inning opener 10-5 and then captured the seven-inning nightcap 3-1. Southeast (20-23, 10-9) is now in fifth place among 10 OVC teams. The Eagles (12-32, 5-15) are in last place.
The squads conclude their series at noon today.
Junior right-handed reliever Brad Smith was one of the stars of the day for the Indians as he worked a total of 4 1/3 scoreless innings to save both games. Smith now has eight saves to tie the school single-season record, and he is just two off the career mark of 10.
In the opener, Mike Fitch (4-4) was touched for a three-run home run in the first inning but settled down and wound up allowing five runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Smith, Southeast's third pitcher, got out of a big jam in the seventh and finished up with 2 1/3 hitless innings.
Southeast took the lead for good in the third inning with five runs on three hits -- all of them home runs. Brady Noll's fourth homer of the season, a two-run shot, was immediately followed by Eric Horstman's first Southeast homer that tied the contest. With two outs, Eric Hoffman drilled a two-run shot to put the Indians ahead 5-3. They never relinquished the lead.
The Indians had to overcome their share of adversity in the second game, as starter Derek Herbig left because of arm problems following two scoreless innings.
Stan Skakalski (2-0) gave Southeast three scoreless frame. He carried a 2-0 lead into the sixth, thanks to Ernie Bracamonte's run-scoring single in the fifth and Hoffman's second homer of the day, a leadoff shot in the sixth. Hoffman has five home runs this season.
A leadoff homer by Morehead State's Lance Seasor in the bottom of the sixth made the score 2-1, then a single marked the end of Skakalski's day.
On came Smith, who immediately allowed a double -- it was the only hit he allowed in either game -- to place runners on second and third. But Smith escaped the jam thanks to a pair of ground balls and a strikeout.
Bracamonte's RBI double in the seventh gave the Indians some breathing room, then Smith worked around a pair of two-out walks in the bottom of the frame to nail down the sweep.
Smith struck out six and walked two during his 4 1/3 innings of work.
Southeast finished the day with 20 hits, including 13 in the opener. Bracamonte led the way by going 4-for-8 while Horstman, Hoffman, Noll and Gary Gilbert all added three hits.
Hoffman drove in four runs, including three in the opener. Noll and Frankie Montiel both also had three first-game RBIs.