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Southeast salvages one game
The offense came alive in Saturday's second game.
MURRAY, Ky. -- It wasn't the weekend Southeast Missouri State was looking for.
But after dropping the first two games of an Ohio Valley Conference series, the Redhawks were happy to leave Kentucky with a win.
The Redhawks avoided a series sweep by holding off Murray State 9-6 in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader.
MSU won the opener 3-1 -- both contests lasted seven innings -- after the Thoroughbreds romped 25-2 in Friday's nine-inning affair as the Redhawks allowed the most runs in program history.
"You always want to win a series, but we'll take the third one," senior left fielder Justin Wheeler said.
Said Southeast coach Mark Hogan: "One's not bad when you lose the first two."
Southeast suffered its initial OVC series loss after winning its first three, including two sweeps.
But Hogan found it hard to argue after the Redhawks reached the halfway point of their OVC schedule 9-3, which has them in second place, behind only 9-1 Eastern Illinois.
"We avoided the sweep and ended the first half 9-3," said Hogan, whose squad is 19-13 overall. "That's a tremendous start."
The Redhawks expected a rugged battle from the Thoroughbreds (20-13, 3-5), whose OVC record could be much better save for one-run losses to Eastern Illinois and defending regular-season champion Jacksonville State.
A battle is exactly what Southeast got.
"We knew they'd be tough," Wheeler said. "We didn't know their pitchers would be that tough for us."
The Thoroughbreds have as good a pair of starters as any OVC team in juniors Chris Craycraft and Daniel Calhoun.
Craycraft allowed Southeast four hits and no earned runs in eight innings Friday, then OVC wins leader Calhoun dominated the Redhawks in a complete-game two-hitter to open Saturday's doubleheader.
Southeast had to be elated to face a different starter in Saturday's nightcap -- and it showed as Dan Huff was knocked out after retiring just one batter.
Four hits and four walks led to a six-run first inning for the Redhawks, who were up 9-0 after 2 1/2 innings but had to hold on.
"It was good to get that last one," senior right fielder Tyrell Cummings said.
Junior college transfer Kyle Gumieny turned in his second straight solid start for the win.
Gumieny (2-2) allowed just two earned runs through five innings before admittedly wearing down some during a two-run sixth that sliced Southeast's lead to 9-5.
"I started to get a little tired toward the end," said Gumieny, who has the top ERA among Southeast starters in league play at 4.43. "But I think things are starting to come around for me."
Gumieny, who was removed after the first two batters in the sixth inning singled, gave up seven hits and was charged with four earned runs. He struck out two and walked two.
"I thought Kyle was really good," Hogan said.
Junior college transfer John Salazar, who retired the only batter he faced in the opener, continued his solid relief work with 1 1/3 innings after replacing Gumieny.
Salazar might have been able to finish off things, but an error after a one-out walk in the seventh made the Redhawks' 9-5 advantage a bit precarious.
All-OVC junior catcher Jim Klocke, who has emerged as one of the league's premier closers in his first season of college pitching, stepped to the mound.
Klocke got an out on a sacrifice fly as a run scored and allowed a single that brought the tying run to the plate. But a ground ball ended it.
It was Klocke's seventh save, which ties him for third on the program's career list. He already was third on the single-season saves ledger.
"John pitched well again. Without the error, he probably could have finished it off," Hogan said. "Jim just keeps doing the job every time we put him out there."
The Redhawks had 12 hits in the nightcap, after they had been held to 11 hits in their previous three games.
Cummings went 3-for-3 and finished the day 4-for-6 along with two RBIs.
Wheeler, senior first baseman Matt Wagner and junior center fielder Nick Harris all added two hits in the finale, while sophomore DH Kody Campbell from Oran and freshman shortstop Kenton Parmley both had two RBIs.
"It started to get rough at the end, but it's nice to salvage a little out of the series," Gumieny said.