Southeast Missouri State baseball team blanks first visitor to Capaha

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Southeast Missouri State's Casey Jones makes contact during the fourth inning of a game against Harris-Stowe on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, at Capaha Park. SEMO won 3-0. (Kristin Eberts)

The Southeast Missouri State baseball team was held hitless through six innings Tuesday.

That didn't prevent the Redhawks from having a successful home opener, beating Harris-Stowe State 3-0 in front of more than 550 chilly fans at Capaha Field.

Southeast improved to 3-1 by defeating Harris-Stowe for the 16th straight time in a contest that lasted just two hours.

The Hornets, an NAIA program from St. Louis, fell to 4-5 and had a four-game winning streak snapped.

"You've got to give Harris-Stowe credit. I was impressed with them," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said.

Southeast Missouri State winning pitcher Josh Syberg throws to a Harris-Stowe batter during the fifth inning Tuesday at Capaha Field.

Hogan also has been impressed with the Redhawks, who took two of three over the weekend on the road against a strong Louisiana-Lafayette squad.

Southeast, which scored all three runs in the seventh inning Tuesday, used the same formula that led it to the series victory in Louisiana -- exceptional pitching and defense, along with timely hitting.

"All four pitchers threw excellent, and defensively we continued to play well," said Hogan, whose team committed its first error of the season Tuesday and has allowed just seven runs. "We'll get better with the bats. That'll come around."

Southeast's four hurlers combined on a two hitter while walking only one.

Senior Nick Thomas, one of Southeast's top starters last year, allowed a hit and a walk over the first three innings. He struck out one.

Senior left-hander Josh Syberg gave up one hit over the next four innings. He was the winner in his first appearance since the 2009 season.

"There's nothing better," Syberg said. "I waited way too long."

Syberg won eight games in his first three collegiate seasons but missed all of last year with a torn labrum, meaning he had been on the shelf just short of two full years.

"I'm feeling really good. It feels good to finally be back in a game," Syberg said. "The nerves were flowing. I hadn't been in a game in so long. Once I got the first strike I was fine."

Senior Kirk Boeller, a Notre Dame graduate, struck out the side in the eighth inning. He hasn't allowed a run in four innings this season.

Sophomore Shae Simmons from Scott City closed things out, striking out two during a perfect ninth inning. He has not allowed a hit or a run in four innings.

Simmons, a freshman All-American last year, has saved two of Southeast's three wins. He is already tied for fourth on the school's career saves list with seven.

"Our pitching's been great," senior Michael Adamson said.

Southeast finally broke up the Hornets' no-hit bid in the seventh inning as the Redhawks got three of their four hits and scored all their runs off redshirt freshman Caleb Hosey from Jackson.

Senior Louie Haseltine was hit by a pitch leading off. Redshirt freshman Cole Bieser ran for Haseltine.

Bieser was balked to second and, with one out, senior Nick Harris got Southeast's first hit, a line drive to left-center to score Bieser.

Senior Blake Slattery from Central reached on an infield single and a squeeze bunt by junior Jesse Tierney scored Harris. Slattery came home on a single by senior Tim Rupp.

Harris, like Syberg, was elated to finally contribute again after he missed all but last year's opener with an elbow injury.

"I'm feeling good, 100 percent," said Harris, a starter during his first three seasons who played third base Tuesday after serving as DH during one of Southeast's games over the weekend.

"It was nice to contribute," added Harris, who ranks high on many of Southeast's career records lists. "Syb threw four shutout innings and me getting the game winner ... it brought back memories."

Hogan couldn't have been happier for Syberg and Harris.

"I feel good for them. I know what they've been through the last 12 months," Hogan said. "It was a retro game for us. Syberg looked like the Syberg of old and then Harris gets the winning hit."

Junior Kody Campbell from Oran, Mo., had Southeast's other hit, an eighth-inning double that was lost in the lights.

The Hornets used eight hurlers, including sophomore Drew Coleman from Jackson. He worked a perfect third inning.

Logan Peters had both of Harris-Stowe's hits. Junior center fielder Blake Dirnberger from Scott City went 0 for 3.

Southeast returns to action Friday, hosting Ball State at 3 p.m. The squads will play 1 p.m. games Saturday and Sunday.

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