Eftink's blast helps Indians win again

Monday, March 18, 2002

Southeast Missouri State University's Josh Eftink made the most of his first collegiate hit.

Eftink, in his first career start Sunday, delivered a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning that broke a 7-7 tie and sent the Indians on their way to a wild 13-10 victory over visiting Culver-Stockton.

The Indians, who swept the three-game weekend series at Capaha Field, improved to 6-7 after an 0-5 start. The NAIA Wildcats fell to 7-9.

Eftink, a redshirt freshman who was an all-stater at Notre Dame High School, had just two at-bats previously this season, striking out once and being hit by a pitch. The home run he had Sunday was his only hit, but it was a big one.

"I got my opportunity to get a couple of at-bats today and I tried to take advantage of it," Eftink said. "It felt real good."

Said Southeast coach Mark Hogan, "Josh has had to be patient. He's hung in there and has waited his turn."

Southeast dug itself an early hole as the Wildcats scored five runs on seven hits in the first inning off starter Donnie Fuller.

But the Indians rallied behind a 15-hit attack. Tristen McDonald led the way with three hits while Clemente Bonilla, Denver Stuckey, Zach Borowiak, Vern Hatton and Eric Hoffman all had two. Hatton drove in four runs. Borowiak and McDonald matched Eftink's two RBIs.

The Wildcats had 17 hits, including a two-run homer in the ninth by Jaime Ornelas that pulled them to within 13-10. But Stuckey came on to record the final three outs and earn his first career save.

Brad Purcell, the third of six Southeast hurlers, got the victory. Normally a starter, Purcell (2-2) was getting in some work as the Indians won't play again until Friday. He hurled four shutout innings, allowing three hits.

Southeast not only trailed 5-0 in the first inning but also 7-2 in the third. The Indians, who scored in every inning, tied things with a three-run fourth and went ahead for good in the fifth.

The Indians will now look ahead to a three-game home series with regional rival Southwest Missouri State beginning Friday.

"They've got an outstanding club and that's going to be a big series for us," Hogan said.

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