Redhawks boot one

Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tyrell Cummings slides around St. Catharine College catcher Jared Yates to score Wednesday afternoon at Capaha Field.

It was not a good day at the office for the Southeast Missouri State baseball team.

The host Redhawks committed seven errors Wednesday -- just one fewer than in their first seven games combined -- and lost 11-9 to NAIA St. Catharine (Ky.) College.

"It was just a bad performance," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "We certainly hit well enough to win the game."

Hogan, in his 15th season at Southeast, said the Redhawks never had made more errors in a game during his tenure than they did Wednesday.

The seven miscues might very well be a school record, although that is not a certainty.

Tony Spencer safely dives back to first base Wednesday at Capaha Field.

What is certain is that all those mistakes led to only two of St. Catharine's runs being earned.

"It's hard to explain the defensive part," Hogan said. "To me, defense is mental. I just don't think we were ready to go today."

Southeast pitchers didn't help themselves as three of the errors were by them on poor throws.

"I think our pitchers pitched good enough for us to win," senior second baseman Tony Spencer said. "I think as a team we came out flat.

"Coach talked about it after the game. It didn't seem like everybody came ready to play."

St. Catharine College's Philip Dean safely steals second as the throw gets away from Tony Spencer as he covered the base.

Southeast fell to 5-3, including two wins over previously nationally ranked Alabama and a win over Big Ten Conference power Purdue.

"This should be a learning experience," Hogan said. "We've played some good ball, and today we got pushed back."

St. Catharine improved to 6-2 -- and Hogan wanted to make it clear that the Patriots deserve plenty of credit despite Southeast's sloppy performance.

"I don't want to take anything away from their club," Hogan said.

The Patriots displayed a solid offense with eight hits, including two home runs.

St. Catharine also displayed an impressive pitcher who shut down Southeast's high-powered attack over the final five innings.

Southeast, after falling behind 5-0 in the first inning, rallied to go ahead 9-7 with a three-run fourth as the Redhawks appeared ready to take control of the contest.

Enter junior right-hander Travis Adams, a Division I transfer from Western Kentucky.

Adams (3-0) retired the final two batters in the fourth, then blanked the Redhawks the rest of the way on two hits after they had torched St. Catharine's first two hurlers for 10 hits, including two home runs.

"He had pretty good stuff," Spencer said. "He pretty much shut us down."

Adams set the St. Catharine career record for wins during his first two seasons, when the school was a junior college.

Adams transferred to Western Kentucky last season, but was forced to take a medical redshirt after being struck by a line drive.

After St. Catharine became a four-year institution this year, Adams transferred back to play for the Patriots.

"He just competes," St. Catharine coach Luther Bramblett said.

St. Catharine was a perennial national junior college power in baseball, and the Patriots showed they could be a pretty solid NAIA program as well.

"It's a good win for us," Bramblett said. "Our guys are very excited, very happy.

"They [Southeast] have a good club. They gave us some chances and we took advantage."

The Patriots broke a 9-9 tie with two unearned runs in the eighth inning despite not collecting a hit.

Junior center fielder Nick Harris, making his second collegiate pitching appearance, took the loss.

Harris (0-1) committed one of the errors in the decisive frame. Senior first baseman Matt Wagner had the other, one of his three errors on the day.

Southeast threatened in the ninth by putting runners on first and third with one out, but Adams got a strikeout and ground out to end things.

Senior right fielder Tyrell Cummings had three of Southeast's 12 hits. He is the only Southeast player to hit safely in all eight games.

Wagner belted his Ohio Valley Conference-leading fifth home run of the season and drove in four runs.

Harris joined Wagner in getting two hits.

Freshman third baseman Kody Campbell from Oran got his first collegiate home run, a two-run shot in the first inning in his first Southeast start.

"It would have been a lot nicer if we had won, but it was nice," said Campbell, who was playing in just his second game and has two hits in only three plate appearances.

The left-handed hitting Campbell came out of the game in the third inning and was replaced by regular third baseman Trenton Moses from Advance after the Patriots brought in a left-hander.

"I know it was a thrill for Kody," said Hogan of Campbell's first homer.

The highlight on the mound for Southeast was two scoreless innings by junior college transfer John Salazar, who had pitched just two innings previously.

"He did a good job," said Hogan, whose squad has had only one starter survive past the third inning this season. "Our pitching staff is a work in progress."

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