Southeast Missouri State baseball team rides pitchers' one-hitter to 2-0 victory

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Southeast Missouri State's Brad LaBruyere pitches during the second inning of a game against Mid-Continent on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau. SEMO won 2-0. (Kristin Eberts)

Brad LaBruyere missed his normal start over the weekend when one contest of a scheduled three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series against Morehead State was rained out.

LaBruyere made up for it Wednesday with five dominant innings as Southeast Missouri State beat Mid-Continent University 2-0 on a combined one-hitter.

The Redhawks, who concluded a seven-game homestand, improved to 13-11 as they prepare for nine straight road contests.

Mid-Continent, an NAIA program from Mayfield, Ky., that beat OVC member Murray State last week, fell to 17-11 and had its five-game winning streak snapped.

"It was great to get a win," said junior Trenton Moses, noting that the Redhawks had been scuffling some with only two victories in the first six games of their homestand. "Everybody was energized, ready to play.

"We didn't get as many hits [seven] as we wanted, but they were a good team with good pitching."

LaBruyere, a senior from Central High School, continued his impressive season as a first-time member of the Redhawks' starting rotation.

LaBruyere saw a decent amount of action during his first two Southeast seasons, primarily out of the bullpen while starting five times. But he threw only 14 1/3 innings last year, finishing with an 11.30 ERA.

LaBruyere, who now pitches on a regular basis, improved to 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA. All six of his appearances have been starts, and he entered Wednesday with the OVC's seventh-best ERA.

"I knew the rain was possible," LaBruyere said about the series against Morehead State. "I just wanted to get back in the swing of things."

LaBruyere, still scheduled to get his normal weekend start Sunday in the finale of a three-game OVC series at Eastern Kentucky, struck out three, walked one and hit a batter while throwing only 48 pitches Wednesday.

The only hit LaBruyere allowed was a third-inning single by Nathan Lawrence.

"I was mainly throwing fastballs, getting ahead in the count," LaBruyere said.

LaBruyere said taking the mound on a consistent basis has made all the difference for him.

"It really does help knowing your schedule, to get yourself in a rhythm," LaBruyere said.

LaBruyere has been among the top hurlers for the Plaza Tire Capahas the past several summers. He has carried over that into his final college season.

"Brad was really on," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "He's had a couple of good summers with the Capahas and he's got his confidence.

"He's really competing well in the bottom half of the zone, which is so important."

Four Southeast relievers finished the one-hitter with a perfect inning each.

"I was just totally impressed with our arms," Hogan said.

Senior Jacob Wente worked the sixth, junior college transfer left-hander Ryan Pickett the seventh, sophomore Shae Simmons the eighth and senior left-hander Logan Mahon the ninth.

"Jacob gave us a great inning, Ryan has been really valuable for us, Shae was really impressive and Logan has just done a tremendous job," Hogan said.

Simmons, from Scott City, struck out two while Mahon, who fanned the side, notched his second career save. He has nailed down Southeast's last two wins.

Mahon, a starter last year after transferring from junior college, has turned into a shutdown reliever. He entered play with the OVC's third-best ERA and lowered that mark to 1.50.

"I like the relieving role a lot," Mahon said. "You can throw it as hard as you can without pacing yourself."

The Redhawks scored the only run they needed in the second inning.

Moses, from Advance, led off with a double and later came around on a one-out, bases-loaded walk by senior Blake Slattery, another Central product.

Southeast got its other run in the sixth. Senior Michael Adamson led off with a single, was sacrificed to second by Moses and scored on a single by senior Casey Jones.

Moses and Adamson both had two hits.

Southeast resumes OVC play Saturday with a doubleheader at Eastern Kentucky.

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