Parmley makes his first HR a game-winner

Saturday, March 14, 2009
Southeast Missouri State's Andy Stephens delivers a pitch to a Northern Illinois batter during the seventh inning Friday at Capaha Field. Stephens collected his first victory at Southeast with 1 1/3 perfect innings.

Kenton Parmley picked a perfect time for his first collegiate home run.

Parmley, a freshman shortstop, belted a two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday to lift host Southeast Missouri State past Northern Illinois 8-6.

"That's the way to get my first home run I guess," Parmley said.

NIU twice rallied from four-run deficits to forge a 6-6 tie through 7 1/2 innings.

Southeast's eighth started with a leadoff single by senior left fielder Justin Wheeler, who was sacrificed to second by freshman DH Kody Campbell from Oran.

Southeast Missouri State's Justin Wheeler congratulates teammate Kenton Parmley on his eighth-inning home during Friday's game against Northern Illinois at Capaha Field. Wheeler scored on the game-winning, two-run blast that broke a 6-6 tie.

In stepped Parmley, who sent NIU reliever Zach Oates' first pitch of the day over the left-field wall at spacious Capaha Field.

Parmley said Oates -- NIU's third and final hurler -- started him with an off-speed delivery. Not that it would have mattered what Oates served up.

"Pretty much anything over the plate, I'm going to swing at it," Parmley said.

So, did Parmley know the ball would leave the park as soon as he connected?

"I had no idea. I've never played on a field this big [before this year]," Parmley said.

Southeast Missouri State's Tony Spencer slides in for a run against Northern Illinois Friday at Capaha Park.

Parmley, from nearby Goreville, Ill., has started every game at shortstop this season for the 8-5 Redhawks.

After a slow start offensively, Parmley has his batting average up to .263. And his defense has been solid.

"He just continues to get a little more settled in," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "He's doing well. We haven't been disappointed in him at all."

For Parmley's homer to stand up as the game-winner, Southeast still had to take care of the pesky Huskies (4-10) in the top of the ninth.

That was no problem as junior all-conference catcher Jim Klocke continued to shine as Southeast's closer despite never having pitched in college before this season.

Southeast Missouri State's Tyrell Cummings attempted to make a running catch during the third inning. The ball dropped in for a hit.

Klocke retired the side in the ninth, including two strikeouts, for this third save to go along with a win. In eight innings, Klocke has allowed six hits and two runs while striking out 11 and walking one.

"He just goes after people," Hogan said. "He's been great in that role."

Also impressive in relief for the Redhawks has been junior left-hander Andy Stephens from Scott City.

Stephens, the third of four Southeast pitchers, notched his first collegiate win with 1 1/3 perfect innings.

"It feels great," said Stephens, who before Friday had not been involved in a decision during his Southeast career.

Stephens has not allowed an earned run in five innings spanning four appearances. He has given up just one hit and one walk while striking out six.

Last year, Stephens led Southeast with a 2.08 ERA after transferring from Meramec Community College in St. Louis, although he worked only 8 2/3 innings.

"I've got basically the same role as I had last year, to get lefty's out, but now they've got more confidence in me to leave me in longer," Stephens said.

Hogan agreed.

"We had a lot of guys ready to go today, but we went with Andy," Hogan said. "He goes in there and throws strikes, shows confidence. I'm proud of him."

Senior Ryan Poole was also solid in relief after starter Kyle Gumieny was knocked out in the fifth. Poole allowed an unearned run -- on his own throwing error -- in two innings.

Gumieny gave up 11 hits and five runs in 4 2/3 innings, but UNI managed just three hits and one run the rest of the way

Wheeler and senior all-conference first baseman Matt Wagner both went 3-for-4 to lead Southeast. Sophomore third baseman Trenton Moses from Advance had a two-run double.

Wagner pushed his batting average to .431, tops among Southeast regulars.

Senior all-conference right fielder Tyrell Cummings added a single and is the only Southeast player to hit safely in all 13 games.

The Huskies, whose record is misleading due to a rugged schedule, outhit Southeast 14-12. Freshman shortstop Alex Jones went 3-for-4 to lead NIU.

"They're a really good team," Klocke said. "They battled back. You have to give them credit."

The squads continue their four-game series today with a noon doubleheader.

Hogan will be honored prior to today's opener for the 800th career win he recently achieved, including 230 on the junior college level and 155 in Division II before coming to Southeast in 1995.

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