Southeast Missouri State baseball team sweeps Murray State

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Southeast Missouri State baseball team struggled against Murray State last year, losing all three meetings to the Thoroughbreds.

Southeast paid back MSU on Saturday by sweeping a doubleheader in Murray, Ky., 5-4 and 17-7. The squads close out their three-game series at 1 p.m. today.

The Redhawks, winners for the 11th time in their last 12 games, improved to 27-15 overall and 10-5 in Ohio Valley Conference play. They remained in second place, just percentage points behind Austin Peay.

"It was a great day for us," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "Our goal was to come over here and get a sweep to stay in the hunt for first place.

"I'm really proud of the guys. You can't ask for much more than what they're doing right now."

MSU fell to 14-25 overall and 5-7 in conference play. The Thoroughbreds have lost 12 of their past 14 games.

Southeast needed a major escape in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the opener before romping in the seven-inning nightcap.

"They were two totally different games," Hogan said. "I felt very fortunate to win Game 1. In Game 2, we just pounded the ball."

Southeast led the opener 4-0 after 2 1/2 innings and carried a 5-3 advantage into the bottom of the ninth.

Then things got interesting.

Senior left-hander Logan Mahon, who is having a sensational season out of the bullpen, worked a perfect eighth inning before running into trouble.

Mahon walked the first two batters in the ninth. A bunt single and a throwing error -- one of three errors by the OVC's top defensive squad -- brought in a run while leaving men on first and third with nobody out.

A sacrifice left runners on second and third with one out. Brandon Elliott, the OVC's top hitter at .425 entering the day, was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Travis Isaak then smoked a line drive to senior first baseman Casey Jones, who made the catch and stepped on first base to end the contest.

"The game was there for them to win," Hogan said. "The guy put the ball in play hard. It just happened to be in the perfect spot.

"We didn't play our best game, with the errors, which is uncharacteristic for us. We did enough to win, which is the mark of a good club."

Senior left-hander Jordan Underwood improved to 4-0 after working the first six innings. He allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits while striking out four and walking five.

"He pitched very well," Hogan said.

Senior Trent Wise pitched a scoreless seventh inning before Mahon notched his seventh save of the season, second-most in the OVC. He is 4-3 with a 1.98 ERA.

Southeast had 10 hits, including a third-inning leadoff homer by senior right fielder Nick Harris that made it 4-0.

Jones' two-RBI triple and an RBI single by senior DH Brett Russell highlighted a three-run first inning.

Russell's bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning put Southeast up 5-3 and proved to be the winning run.

Jones, junior third baseman Trenton Moses from Advance and senior second baseman Tim Rupp all had two hits.

The Redhawks exploded in the nightcap, scoring six runs in the third inning and 11 in the fourth to lead 17-1 after an early 1-0 deficit.

Harris, continuing his torrid hitting since recently returning from a knee injury, got his second home run of the day, a three-run shot in the huge fourth inning that also included Jones' two-run blast.

Senior left fielder Michael Adamson's three-run homer, which came after his pop fly was dropped by the first baseman in foul territory for an error, sparked the big third inning that included an RBI single by Harris.

The Redhawks knocked out MSU ace Jake Donze (6-3) in that frame, handing the left-hander his first OVC loss. He had been 4-0 in league play.

"His stats were off the chart, but we've hit left-handers well all year," Hogan said.

Southeast pounded out 13 hits, three by Jones and Adamson, who doubled twice.

Harris, Moses and senior center fielder Blake Slattery from Central High School all added two hits.

Adamson, Jones and Slattery all had three RBIs in addition to four by Harris.

Jones finished the day 5 for 9 with a homer, triple, double and five RBIs. Harris also had five RBIs while scoring five times.

"We got production up and down the lineup," Hogan said.

Senior Brad LaBruyere continued his impressive season, improving to 7-1. He entered the day leading the league in ERA, although that increased a bit to 3.60.

LaBruyere, another Central graduate, allowed a first-inning run but that was the only tally along with three hits off him through six innings.

LaBruyere gave up three hits during a six-run seventh that saw him charged with four runs. He struck out three and walked one in 6 1/3 innings.

"Brad threw great. He just ran out of gas," Hogan said.

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