Southeast Missouri State baseball team fails to land first OVC series victory

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Southeast Missouri State baseball team came the closest it has so far to its first Ohio Valley Conference series win of the season Sunday.

But the Redhawks fell short after a wild 16-14 loss at Morehead State in a game that saw both squads stage late rallies.

Southeast (11-26, 3-9), which dropped Friday's series opener 7-2 before winning 9-4 on Saturday, remained last in the 10-team league. The Redhawks have lost all four of their OVC series.

Fourth-place MSU (21-15, 7-5) did all its damage with three big innings, scoring six in the fourth, five in the fifth and five in the decisive eighth.

MSU trailed 6-0 after two innings, led 11-9 after six innings and fell back behind 12-11 after seven innings. The Eagles took the lead for good with their five-run eighth that featured just two hits.

The Redhawks nearly came back one more time. They scored two ninth-inning runs and brought the tying run to the plate in .417 hitter Kenton Parmley.

But the senior shortstop's long fly ball to center field was caught at the wall for the game's final out.

"What a disappointing loss," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said.

Southeast had plenty of highlights, mainly offensively, as three players continued impressive streaks.

Parmley extended his record OVC hitting streak to 44 games dating back to last year, the fifth longest hitting streak in NCAA Division I history. He also has reached base safely in 53 consecutive games.

All-American senior third baseman Trenton Moses extended his school record for reaching base safely to 57 consecutive games dating back to last year.

Sophomore left fielder Derek Gibson extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a first-inning home run.

Moses went 5 for 5 with two home runs and a double at cozy Allen Field. It was his third career five-hit game and second this year. He boosted his average to .421.

Moses has 14 home runs this season. He drove in five runs Sunday, pushing his RBI total to 42. He missed a chance at a sixth hit, which would have tied a school record, when he was intentionally walked in the eighth inning.

Parmley went 3 for 6 with a triple and double, while redshirt freshman right fielder Jason Blum went 3 for 5.

Senior first baseman Kody Campbell added two hits for Southeast, which outhit MSU 18-12. The Redhawks had five doubles in addition to their three home runs.

"We had so many good things offensively," Hogan said. "Scoring this many runs, it's unbelievable we lost the game."

That's because a pitching staff that has struggled most of the season but appeared to be making strides sprung too many leaks, especially with control.

Southeast has ranked last nationally in walks issued for much of the year, but the Redhawks had handed out just four walks in their previous three games.

Six Southeast hurlers combined for nine walks and three hit batters Sunday.

That combination was damaging in MSU's big eighth inning. Southeast hit two batters and issued a walk in the frame, and all three runners scored.

The Redhawks first five batters in the game got extra-base hits to knock out true freshman pitcher Blake Smith.

Parmley led off with a triple and Gibson ripped a two-run homer, his fourth round-tripper of the season.

Moses, Campbell and true freshman DH Ryan Barnes all doubled, the latter two driving in runs to make it 4-0.

Parmley led off the second inning with a single and Moses drilled a two-run homer for a 6-0 lead.

The Eagles pulled even with a six-run fourth inning, but Moses regained a 9-6 advantage for the Redhawks with a three-run homer in the fifth inning.

MSU answered with five runs in the bottom of the fifth to lead 11-9, but Southeast countered with three two-out runs in the seventh to surge ahead 12-11. Campbell's RBI double was followed by Blum's two-RBI single.

But the Redhawks could not hold on. Taylor Pickens' three-RBI double in the eighth snapped a 12-12 tie.

Junior college transfer left-hander Ryan Kendall started for Southeast and fired three scoreless innings.

Kendall allowed a single and two walks to the first three batters in the fourth inning before being relieved. He was charged with three runs on three hits and four walks. He struck out two.

Juco transfer Tony Zerrusen took the loss despite being Southeast's most effective hurler. He blanked the Eagles in the sixth and seventh innings, allowing Southeast to hang close until the offense could rally.

Zerrusen (1-1) was charged with three runs -- two earned -- despite allowing just one hit. He walked one, hit a batter and committed an error during the fateful eighth inning.

Southeast returns to action Tuesday, hosting Arkansas State in a 5 p.m. nonconference matchup.

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