Redhawks fall a run short for sixth time

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Southeast Missouri State has suffered numerous tough losses this season -- and the Redhawks can add another to the list.

Arkansas State's Brad Burkhead drilled a two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifting the Indians to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Redhawks Tuesday night in nonconference play.

The Indians, who beat Southeast 9-0 last month in Cape Girardeau, improved to 25-12. The Redhawks fell to 13-22.

Southeast has dropped six one-run decisions this year. Overall, the Redhawks have lost 13 games by three runs or less.

After freshman Jim Clayton's two-out, two-run single in the top of the sixth inning put Southeast ahead 2-1, the Redhawks appeared poised to post a narrow victory.

But the Indians finally broke through against Southeast reliever Jamie McAlister -- who had pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings -- in the eighth.

A one-out walk and infield single put runners on first and second. After McAlister struck out the next better, Burkhead tripled to right-center to put ASU up for good, and the Indians retired Southeast in order in the ninth.

The Redhawks received strong pitching from both McAlister and freshman Casey Johnson, who started.

Johnson allowed a first-inning run, then kept the strong-hitting Indians off the board before being relieved by McAlister in the sixth after walking the first two batters. McAlister retired the next three hitters to escape the threat.

Johnson, working five-plus innings, allowed six hits. He struck out three and walked three.

McAlister (1-4) took the loss. In three innings, he gave up three hits, with three strikeouts and two walks.

Once again a lack of offense doomed the Redhawks. Entering the game batting just .264, they had only five hits, three coming in their two-run sixth. Frankie Montiel was 2-for-4.

Playing only its third game since April 10, ASU used six pitchers by design. Brandon Westmoreland (6-0) hurled a perfect eighth for the win, while Doug Walter worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

Mike Sirianni had two of ASU's nine hits.

The Redhawks resume Ohio Valley Conference play this weekend with a three-game home series against Eastern Illinois. It will be River Eagle Distributing Day during Saturday's 1 p.m. doubleheader, with free food and beverages provided. Southeast is in eighth place in the 10-team league.

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