OVC adopts three nine-inning games in conference series

Monday, February 13, 2012

Southeast Missouri State baseball coach Mark Hogan had been hoping for some time that the Ohio Valley Conference would change its format for conference series.

Hogan finally got his wish.

OVC teams will join most of the nation by playing conference series featuring no scheduled seven-inning games and no scheduled doubleheaders this season. League series will consist of three nine-inning games, generally on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The OVC had been playing Saturday doubleheaders consisting of a nine-inning opener and a seven-inning nightcap, followed by a Sunday nine-inning contest. The OVC was one of just six Division I conferences that consistently played a three-game series over two days.

There still could be some seven-inning games played if a doubleheader is necessary due to inclement weather.

"I really think it's a great move for the conference," Hogan said. "This way you're scheduled for just nine-inning games, and with no scheduled doubleheaders, you're not out at the field all day.

"I just think it's a lot better for everybody involved, especially the student-athletes, and that's the main thing."

The new format also allows flexibility in playing the three-game series when weather becomes an issue.

Previously, when the Saturday doubleheader was rained out, teams played a Sunday doubleheader if possible and missed at least one game in the series.

Should weather be a factor with the new schedule, teams could play a doubleheader either Saturday or Sunday.

"This should help cut down on rainouts," Hogan said. "It's just better all the way around."

Home sweet home

Southeast's 56-game regular-season schedule features 32 home contests, including 15 of the Redhawks' 27 OVC games.

After opening with this weekend's three-game series at Dallas Baptist, the Redhawks play 11 straight at Capaha Field beginning Feb. 21 against Harris-Stowe.

The nonconference schedule includes the annual home-and-home series with regional rivals Southern Illinois, St. Louis and Arkansas State, along with a home contest against Missouri State.

Southeast has home series against IPFW, Illinois State and Arkansas-Little Rock.

"We've got a really attractive home schedule with teams our fans should enjoy seeing. I'm excited about that," Hogan said.

Notable road series include Dallas Baptist this weekend and New Mexico State in mid-March.

Tough opening test

The Redhawks have a tough opening opponent as usual.

Dallas Baptist went 42-20 last year and won an NCAA regional to earn a Super Regional berth. The Patriots have posted at least 30 victories in 11 of the past 12 seasons. They have surpassed 40 wins four times during that stretch.

The Patriots are ranked 33rd in the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association preseason poll after finishing 25th last year.

"They've got a very good program," Hogan said. "They're doing a little reloading too, like we are, but they ended up being the best team in Texas last year. It's a good opener for us."

Adamson joins staff

Michael Adamson, one of Southeast's top players the past two seasons after transferring from junior college, is a student assistant coach for the Redhawks.

The rest of Hogan's coaching staff remains intact.

Chris Cafalone, who works with the hitters, is in his sixth year. Pitching coach Steve Bieser, a former Southeast player who spent parts of two seasons in the major leagues, is in his second year.

Hogan nears 900 wins

Hogan, who has more than 500 wins in 17 seasons at Southeast, is closing in on 900 career victories.

Hogan has a record of 888-677-3 in a 30-year career that includes the Division II and junior college ranks. His Southeast mark stands at 503-420-1.

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