Trio of area freshmen contribute to Redhawks' 6-0 win over Lyon College

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com Redhawks freshman Blake Slattery connected with a pitch during Monday's game against Lyon College at Capaha Field. Slattery, a former standout at Central, collected his first two hits of his college career in the game.

It was a day of firsts for Blake Slattery, while Trenton Moses continued the strong start to his collegiate baseball career.

Those two local products enjoyed strong performances Monday afternoon during Southeast Missouri State's 6-0 win over visiting Lyon College.

Slattery, a freshman from Central High School, had the first two hits of his Southeast career, while also driving in his first run.

Moses, a freshman from Advance, added two hits and could have had more as he stung the ball in all five of his plate appearances.

"It was nice to see both of them have good days," said Southeast coach Mark Hogan, whose squad improved to 4-4 with the victory over the NAIA Scots, who fell to 15-5.

Slattery was particularly relieved.

He already had made three starts while playing in six of Southeast's first seven games, but he was 0-for-12 with eight strikeouts.

Freshman Brad LaBruyere, the former ace at Central High School, delivered a pitch to a Lyon College batter. LaBruyere pitched an inning in Monday's shutout.

Slattery was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the first inning Monday, netting his first collegiate RBI as part of a four-run Southeast uprising.

The outfielder got his first hit in the third inning, a clean single to left, then delivered his first extra-base hit in the fifth, a double to left. He finished the game 2-for-3.

"It felt good to take some of the tension off," said Slattery, who played right field Monday and has also started in center. "I hope to continue to keep it going."

Slattery said he appreciated Hogan showing the confidence in him to put him in the lineup despite the slow start.

Hogan said it's a no-brainer, considering Slattery's talent and potential.

"It's just a matter of time," Hogan said. "I know he'll sleep a little easier now."

Moses already had gotten three hits before Monday, while starting two games and seeing action in four total.

Moses, who has played some third base while also serving as designated hitter, performed in the DH role against the Scots.

He had an RBI single in the first inning and a single in the sixth, while hitting the ball hard but being retired in his other three plate appearances.

Moses is 5-for-15 with two RBIs. His .333 batting average is second on the team.

"I'm surprised," said Moses of his early playing time. "I thought I'd just get a few at-bats. I'm seeing the ball well and having fun."

Said Hogan of Moses: "He's just a solid guy. I remember the first time I saw him play at Advance as a sophomore. ... He's always been a good hitter. He hasn't slowed down at all offensively."

A second freshman from Central, pitcher Brad LaBruyere, had a hand in the shutout as he worked a scoreless inning.

It was the third appearance for the right-handed reliever, who has allowed one run in 2 1/3 innings.

"We're high on all three of those guys," said Hogan, referring to Moses, Slattery and LaBruyere.

Third baseman Justin Wheeler, a junior college transfer, continued his torrid Division I debut season.

Wheeler paced Southeast's 10-hit attack by going 3-for-5 with two doubles. He leads the Redhawks with a .400 average, to go along with two homers and 11 RBIs.

Six pitchers combined on the six-hitter, with eight strikeouts and no walks.

Senior Dustin Renfrow, the returning staff ace, went the first three innings. He allowed two hits and struck out three.

Junior left-hander James Leigh continued to impress as he rounds into form following several seasons of arm problems.

Leigh, who saw limited action at Southeast last year after transferring from junior college, received credit for the win. He gave up two hits and fanned three in two innings.

Leigh, who already has been drafted twice -- once out of high school and once in junior college -- is 2-0 with an 0.82 ERA. He has struck out 18 in 11 innings.

"He's finally gotten pretty healthy. He's got nasty stuff," Hogan said. "It's great to see him bouncing back like that."

Senior Lance Rhodes from Sikeston, senior Ivan Nails and junior Daniel Schuh all joined LaBruyere in throwing one inning each.

"It was a good performance for us, with no errors, the shutout and we hit the ball hard," said Hogan, whose squad had been idle for eight days due to bad weather that canceled three games. "It was nice to play again."

The Redhawks will have another chance today when Saint Louis University (2-7) visits for a 5 p.m. start as Southeast shoots for its first three-game winning streak of the season.

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