Southeast Missouri State baseball team falls to 1-6 in OVC play

Friday, April 6, 2012
Southeast Missouri State’s Kenton Parmley scrambles to his feet to score on a throwing error after stealing third base during the third inning.

Matt Harris had a totally forgettable experience the last time he was in Cape Girardeau.

Except Harris didn't forget it, which he said helped fuel his most recent visit that he enjoyed infinitely more.

Harris pitched into the eighth inning for his third consecutive impressive Ohio Valley Conference start, and Eastern Kentucky beat host Southeast Missouri State 9-1 in Thursday's opener of a three-game series at Capaha Field.

EKU (13-15, 5-2), which led just 3-1 before breaking things open with a six-run ninth inning, posted its sixth consecutive victory.

The Colonels, who have a five-game conference winning streak, remained second in the 10-team league.

Southeast Missouri State pitcher Tony Zerrusen throws to first base on a pickoff play during the seventh inning Thursday at Capaha Field. Eastern Kentucky baserunner Austin Grisham was out on the play. A photo gallery can be viewed at (ADAM VOGLER)

Southeast (8-23, 1-6), which has lost 13 of its last 14 games, fell into sole possession of last place in the OVC.

"It just didn't go our way today," Southeast sophomore left fielder Derek Gibson said. "We're just going through a tough time."

Harris went through a tough time in his last appearance at Capaha Field two years ago.

He allowed a walk-off grand slam as a reliever April 2, 2010. It came during the second contest of a three-game series that Southeast ended up sweeping.

"I remembered that," said a smiling Harris. "I had a little chip on my shoulder coming back here."

Harris, used primarily as a reliever during his first three years at EKU, has made a smooth transition into his role as a full-time starter.

"He's a senior. He's got a lot of experience," EKU coach Jason Stein said. "Whatever we've asked him to do, he's done."

Harris has pitched at least seven innings in all three OVC starts, including last weekend's complete-game victory over SIU Edwardsville.

"I've been able to pound the zone really well in these conference starts," Harris said.

The senior right-hander allowed Southeast an unearned run and five hits in 7 2/3 innings to improve to 4-3. He limited the Redhawks to just two baserunners from the fourth through seventh innings.

"I felt good. I had a lot of movement on my fastball, and I was throwing first-pitch strikes," said Harris, who struck out seven and walked two.

For a while it looked like Harris might go all nine innings for the second consecutive outing. He cruised into the eighth with a 3-1 lead but saw Southeast mount a threat.

Senior shortstop Kenton Parmley singled with one out and was safe at second when Gibson reached on a fielder's choice.

Harris then ran the count to 3-1 on Southeast All-American senior third baseman Trenton Moses but came back to get the strikeout.

"That was a great battle," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said.

Senior first baseman Kody Campbell walked to load the bases and end the day for Harris, who threw 119 pitches.

"I was hoping to finish, but I was getting tired. Coach made a good move," Harris said.

Senior right-hander Matt Fyffe entered and struck out junior college transfer right fielder John Logan Zink to end the threat.

"Our big chance was in the eighth," Hogan said. "A base hit and we tie it. It could have been a different game."

EKU then broke things open with the six-run ninth inning that featured four hits and Southeast's only error of the day, which made three of the runs unearned.

"It was a really good ballgame. It wasn't a 9-1 game," Hogan said.

Southeast had only five hits compared to 12 for EKU, which banged out five doubles.

"He had good stuff," Gibson said about Harris. "He was real consistent. He worked ahead in the count, and it seemed like his command was on."

Southeast sophomore left-hander Christian Hull had one of his better outings of the season.

Hull (2-5) allowed eight hits and three runs in six innings. He struck out three and walked four.

"It was a great performance by both pitchers," Hogan said. "Hull and Harris really hooked up."

Southeast took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Parmley led off with a double and Moses was hit by a pitch with one out. They executed a two-out double steal, with Parmley scoring on a throwing error by the catcher.

EKU went ahead for good with a two-run fourth inning. All the damage came on three hits after the first two batters were retired.

The Colonels made it 3-1 in the fifth, again scoring after the first two batters went down.

"We're getting close. We're right there," Gibson said. "We're going to make it happen."

Parmley and Moses extended their school-record streaks.

Parmley went 2 for 4, pushing his hitting streak to 38 games dating back to last year. He is just four games shy of the OVC record 42-game hitting streak established by Austin Peay's Chuck Abbott in 1996.

Parmley also has reached base safely in 47 consecutive games.

Moses, who had a single and was hit by a pitch twice, extended his streak of reaching base safely to 50 consecutive games dating back to last year. He has hit safely in 29 of 31 games this season.

Gibson extended his hitting streak to 15 games.

Southeast played without redshirt freshman Andy Lennington, the Redhawks' fourth-leading hitter who was out with the flu.

Senior left fielder Jacob Daniel paced EKU with three hits, including two doubles. Senior first baseman A.J. Jamison had two hits and delivered three RBIs.

Today's 1 p.m. game will feature a pitching matchup of juco transfer left-handers, Southeast's Ryan Kendall (0-2, 6.20) and EKU's Shane Grimm (3-4, 3.60).

Southeast ace Shae Simmons normally goes in the second game of an OVC series, but Hogan wants to give Simmons an extra day of rest after he threw a career-high 135 pitches last weekend at Eastern Illinois. Simmons will start Saturday's finale.

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