Redhawks post a farewell victory
Monday, May 17, 2010 ~ Updated 11:19 PM
Southeast provided its seniors with a 10-3 victory against Austin Peay in their final game at Capaha Field
After struggling in recent weeks, the Southeast Missouri State baseball team broke loose Sunday.
That allowed the Redhawks to enjoy their final home game of the season.
Southeast received a stellar pitching performance from Jordan Underwood, heavy hitting and strong defense to ease past Austin Peay 10-3 on Senior Day.
"It's probably the best game we've played as a team in a long time," said senior All-American catcher Jim Klocke, who played third base Sunday to give his legs a break. "Hopefully it gets the ball rolling."
The Redhawks took two of three in the Ohio Valley Conference series after dropping the opener of Saturday's doubleheader 8-4, which marked their sixth loss in seven games.
Southeast nipped Austin Peay 2-1 in Saturday's nightcap before Sunday's romp at Capaha Field.
"It's nice to get back in that form. We kind of needed it," junior right fielder Louie Haseltine said. "We pitched, hit and played good defense."
Southeast (29-21, 12-7) remained third in the nine-team OVC with three contests left. The Redhawks trail first-place Murray State by one game and second-place Tennessee Tech by percentage points.
Sunday's victory allowed the Redhawks to clinch their 16th straight OVC tournament berth, a league record.
Southeast has qualified for the conference tournament every season under coach Mark Hogan. The Redhawks made it this year despite having 19 newcomers, suffering several key injuries and being picked to finish seventh.
"For a team predicted to be seventh, with all the new players and the injuries we've had, I couldn't be prouder of this group," Hogan said.
On the other end, last-place Austin Peay (24-25, 5-13) was eliminated from contention to make the six-team conference tournament.
Klocke, one of three Southeast seniors recognized before the game -- along with pitchers Kyle Gumieny and John Salazar -- put a nice cap on the final home action of his brilliant four-year college career.
Among the top players in program history, Klocke already ranked high on many of Southeast's career and single-season lists. His massive sixth-inning solo home run to right field allowed him to tie the career record for runs batted in. It was his 10th homer of the season.
Klocke has 184 RBIs, matching the total compiled by Jeremy Johnson from 1997 through 2000.
"It's really a team honor," said Klocke, who has 60 RBIs this year to place him fourth on the school single-season list. "The records are more something I'll look at when I'm done. There's no sense in looking at it now."
Said Hogan: "What Jim has done in his career on and off the field speaks for itself. You knew he was going to do something special in his last home game. That's the type of player he is."
Hogan was pleased for all three of the seniors. Gumieny (8-1), second in the OVC in victories, was the winner in relief Saturday. Salazar recorded the final out Sunday.
"It's a classy way for them to go out," Hogan said. "I was glad [Salazar] was on the mound to get the last out. I'm sure he'll remember it. I know I will."
Also setting a school record was sophomore shortstop Kenton Parmley, who scored once to boost his season runs total to 63, breaking the previous mark of 62 set by Charlie Marino in 1998.
Underwood (5-5), a junior left-hander, worked 6 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs, one earned, and six hits while striking out three and walking three.
"He threw great," Hogan said.
Southeast, which had scored 17 runs in its previous five games and had 14 hits in Saturday's doubleheader, more closely resembled the offense that carries a .348 average and puts up more than eight runs per game.
The Redhawks banged out 12 hits, including two home runs and two doubles. They also were helped by Austin Peay's defense as four of the 10 runs were unearned.
"It was a good all-around game for us," junior second baseman Tim Rupp said. "It definitely felt more like a game at the beginning of the year."
Haseltine's solo homer to left field in the second inning was his 17th of the season, tied for sixth on Southeast's single-season list. He had not homered for nine games, since April 27 at Central Arkansas.
"I hit a little drought for a while," Haseltine said. "It felt good to get one."
Haseltine had two hits and three RBIs. He also scored three runs, as did Klocke.
Rupp went 3 for 3, including a double, with three RBIs.
Junior first baseman Brett Russell had two hits. His two-run double in the fourth inning broke a 1-1 tie and highlighted a three-run frame. Southeast broke the game open with a five-run fifth.
Sophomore Jesse Tierney, who caught Sunday, added two hits.
Junior third baseman Casey Jones had an RBI, giving him 63 for third place on the school single-season list. He is just four behind the record-holder.
Although Southeast had two errors, the Redhawks turned in several defensive gems.
Rupp made a dazzling diving play on a ground ball. Parmley and Russell also left their feet to make plays on ground balls, Haseltine made a sliding catch and the Redhawks recorded two double plays.
"It was a great day for us all the way around," Hogan said.
Southeast ends the regular season with a three-game series at Eastern Illinois. There will be a doubleheader Friday and a single contest Saturday.