Southeast baseball will play two OVC series and eight straight games at Capaha Field
The Southeast Missouri State baseball team isn't off to the Ohio Valley Conference start it wanted.
But they aren't in bad shape considering that the Redhawks have played six of their first eight OVC games on the road.
"We've had some good outings in OVC play and some that weren't so good. I feel like we're a better club than we've showed," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "There's still a long way to go."
Southeast, 19-14 overall and riding a three-game winning streak, is 4-4 in OVC play. The Redhawks are in a three-way tie for fourth place in the nine-team league, just a game on the loss side behind leader Jacksonville State.
The Redhawks will look to climb the standings during a stretch of six straight conference home games beginning this weekend against seventh-place Tennessee-Martin (10-22, 2-4).
There will be a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday and a 1 p.m. contest Sunday.
Southeast, coming off a nine-game road stretch during which it went 6-3, has an eight-game homestand that also features next week's OVC series against preseason favorite Jacksonville State.
"These next two weekends are big, but right now all our focus is on this weekend," said Hogan, whose squad was picked second in the OVC preseason poll. "We've got to take care of business at home."
Before getting to Jacksonville State, the Redhawks want to make sure they don't stumble against perennial OVC bottom-feeder UTM, picked last in the conference.
The Skyhawks have been no higher than seventh since joining the OVC in 1993. They have 13 last-place finishes, including a year ago.
But Southeast won't look past the Skyhawks after dropping two of three a year ago in Martin, Tenn. And UTM is hot, winning five of its last six games.
"Tennessee-Martin scares me a lot. They've been a really tough club for us," Hogan said. "They play hard, and I know they'll come in here ready to play."
The Skyhawks are last in the league with a .269 batting average but have scored the fourth-most runs with 195. The Skyhawks are seventh with a 6.50 ERA and eighth with a .951 fielding percentage.
Freshman Phil Sorenson leads UTM offensively with a .364 average, 10th-best in the conference.
Senior Trey Karlen is the Skyhawks' top power threat with five home runs and 29 RBIs while hitting .274. He also leads them in stolen bases with 14 out of 15 attempts.
Junior Danny Kelley has led UTM starters with a 4.71 ERA -- 10th-best in the OVC -- although he is 0-4.
Former Notre Dame Regional High School standout Colton Young is a freshman pitcher for the Skyhawks. He is 0-1 with a 10.93 ERA in 14 innings covering nine appearances, including one start.
Southeast is third in the OVC with a .301 batting average and has scored the second-most runs (221). The Redhawks are first in ERA (4.51) and fielding percentage (.969).
Junior Trenton Moses is the OVC's eighth-leading hitter at .373, while senior Michael Adamson is 13th at .356. Adamson leads the league in runs scored with 35.
The Redhawks' pitching, which sparkled most of the nonconference season, has struggled in league play with an 8.07 ERA.
Southeast will continue with the same senior starting rotation it has used all year.
Jon Dicus (2-2, 4.50) will work Saturday's nine-inning opener, followed by Jordan Underwood (2-0, 4.23) in the seven-inning nightcap and Brad LaBruyere (4-1, 3.49) in Sunday's nine-inning series finale.
All three are among the OVC's top 10 in ERA, with LaBruyere second, Underwood sixth and Dicus eighth.
Senior Logan Mahon is having a big season out of the bullpen, going 4-3 with four saves and a 1.78 ERA. He is tied for fifth in the OVC in wins and is tied for second in saves.
The Southeast baseball program's seventh Annual Joe Uhls benefit golf tournament scheduled for today has been postponed due to potential inclement weather. The tournament will be held Sept. 30 in conjunction with Southeast's Family Weekend.
For further information, call 986-6002.