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Hull settles into role in Southeast Missouri State baseball team's starting rotation
Christian Hull is getting the hang of being a starting pitcher on the collegiate level.
He's liking it, too.
Hull was impressive in his second career start Friday. He helped Southeast Missouri State beat visiting IPFW from Fort Wayne, Ind., 7-1 in the opener of a three-game series.
The sophomore left-hander struck out eight over five innings to notch his first win of the season. He allowed one run, three hits and three walks.
"I'm still getting the hang of it, but it's coming along," Hull said.
Hull was used strictly as a reliever during his true freshman season last year, but he was a starter in high school and also filled that role over the summer while playing in the Prospect League for a team in Nashville, Tenn.
"I like it a lot better than bullpen. It's my own game," Hull said.
Hull made his first collegiate start during Southeast's Feb. 17 season opener at 2011 NCAA Super Regional qualifier Dallas Baptist. He gave up two runs and six hits with five strikeouts and three walks over three innings, but he did not figure into the decision.
"I thought he was solid in that game and today it was very impressive to see," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "His fastball was up a little velocity wise today and he has real good secondary stuff.
"He's kind of a classic lefty with a nice, smooth motion. He's worked real hard."
Hull, a graduate of Ft. Zumwalt West High School in O'Fallon, Mo., appeared in 22 games last year. He went 1-0 with a 5.50 ERA, allowing 18 hits while striking out 14 and walking 10 over 18 innings.
"He did a good job for us out of the bullpen last year," Hogan said.
Hull, who struck out the side in both the first and second innings Friday, said he primarily used his fastball and emphasized that he needs to cut down on his walks.
"I just need to make sure I throw strikes. I need to let my great defense work for me," he said.
Southeast's offense supported Hull and three relievers with 12 hits, including the first home run of the season by senior Kody Campbell, who normally plays first base but was used as the Redhawks' DH on Friday.
Campbell, an Oran High School graduate, gave the Redhawks the lead for good in the fourth inning with a solo leadoff blast to right field that made it 2-1. It was his third collegiate homer and first since his sophomore year.
"It felt good," Campbell said. "It's always nice, especially early in the game. It got us the lead, which we built on."
Campbell, who added an RBI single in the fifth inning for a 3-1 lead, went 3 for 5.
"It's fun to get to play every day," said Campbell, a full-time starter for the first time in his Southeast career. "I just try to do what I can to help the team."
Sophomore center fielder Cole Bieser went 3 for 5 with two doubles to continue his strong start to the season. His two-run sixth-inning double made it 5-1.
Bieser, who had just four hits in 24 at-bats during limited playing time last year, is hitting .375.
"I've been real pleased with everything he does," Hogan said. "He's so quick in the outfield and he's a really good offensive player."
Senior All-American third baseman Trenton Moses from Advance High School and redshirt freshman Andy Lennington, who played first base, both added two hits for Southeast.
Hull and the three relievers combined on a five-hitter with 14 strikeouts.
Junior college transfer Bobby Hurst allowed a hit and a walk while striking out two in the sixth inning.
Senior left-hander Ryan Prickett worked the seventh and eighth innings. He gave up a hit and a walk while striking out two.
True freshman Cody Spanberger finished with a perfect ninth inning. He fanned two.
"I thought all our pitchers did a good job," Hogan said.
IPFW scored its lone run in the second inning. The Mastodons used a hit and the only three walks issued by Hull to take a 1-0 lead.
Lennington tied it in the bottom of the second with an RBI single.
Southeast then steadily pulled away and rounded out the scoring on senior catcher Jesse Tierney's two-run single in the seventh inning.