Southeastsplits two against Belmont

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Southeast Missouri State's comeback magic finally ended Wednesday during the finale of a chilly home doubleheader.

After rallying for a 7-5 victory in the opener on Amy Fahnestock's walk-off, two-run homer, another Redhawks' rally fell just short, as Belmont won 5-4 to salvage a split.

The Redhawks, who the day before rallied from six runs down to beat Wright State, are 12-9 heading into Friday's resumption of Ohio Valley Conference play. The Bruins, from Nashville, Tenn., are 8-14.

"We had our opportunities in the second game," Southeast coach Lana Richmond said.

Fahnestock took advantage of her opportunities in the first game -- both at the plate and on the mound.

One of Southeast's primary pitchers, Fahnestock finished up with 4 2/3 one-hit, shutout innings in relief of starter Stephanie Huffman, who gave up five runs -- three earned -- as the Redhawks fell behind 5-0 after 2 1/2 innings.

But Southeast battled back to forge a 5-5 tie entering the bottom of the seventh. With Lindsay Pickering, who led off with a single, on third base and one out, Fahnestock drilled a pitch well beyond the left-field fence to end game and make herself the winning pitcher.

"I was just trying to get a hit," said Fahnestock, who raised her record to 6-4. "But I'm glad it went out."

Fahnestock, a senior, had just one at-bat last year after transferring from junior college. She batted cleanup in the juco ranks, but a wrist injury prevented her from doing much hitting during her rookie Southeast season, although she was still a main pitcher.

Fahnestock has gotten a few more chances at the plate this year, but still not many, as she entered play Wednesday 1-for-11. She went 2-for-4 in the opener, including her first Southeast homer.

"We're starting to let her take more batting practice," Richmond said. "That was a big hit she got."

Pickering, Huffman and Lyndsey Webb also had two of Southeast's nine first-game hits. Pickering and Webb both had two-out, two-run singles in the fifth as the Redhawks rallied for a 5-5 tie.

Trailing 5-3 in the nightcap, the Redhawks scored a run in the bottom of the fifth and had the tying run thrown out at the plate, then wasted a seventh-inning chance that started with the first two runners reaching.

Huffman had two more hits, making her 4-for-8 in the doubleheader with two RBIs, but Southeast had just six second-game hits.

Freshman starter Elaine Fisher (2-3) took the loss, allowing four runs in 3 2/3 innings. Fahnestock, Southeast's third pitcher, worked three scoreless innings, allowing no hits while striking out five. In 7 2/3 shutout frames Wednesday, Fahnestock gave up one hit, fanned eight and walked two.

Pickering, a sophomore outfielder, went 3-for-7 on the day. She continues to lead Southeast offensively with a .400 average and a team-high 14 RBIs.

"We can't always depend on our hitters," Richmond said. "You don't want slugfests in softball. That means your pitching is getting tagged."

Southeast, 1-2 in OVC play, gears up for a three-game series at Morehead State, with a doubleheader Friday and a single contest Saturday. The Redhawks play their first nine conference games on the road.

"It's a tough way to start out the OVC," Richmond said. "This is a big series."

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