Indians pack up arrows for OSU Cowboys

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Southeast Missouri State University's baseball team is faring well in the Ohio Valley Conference this season, but the Indians have nothing to show for their many tangles with nationally ranked squads.

Coach Mark Hogan hopes that changes today when the Indians play perennial power Oklahoma State in a 3 p.m. first pitch in Stillwater, Okla.

The Indians, who lead the OVC with a 7-2 record, are 18-14 overall. The Cowboys, ranked 16th in the Collegiate Baseball Top 25, are 29-11 overall and 8-6 in the Big 12 Conference.

"It's another opportunity for us against one of the real elite college baseball programs in the nation," Hogan said. "We're looking forward to the challenge."

Southeast is 0-8 against nationally ranked teams this year, losing three games at Oklahoma, three at home to Southwest Missouri State and two at Wichita State.

"We've lost some tough ballgames against those teams," Hogan said. "We've played really tough in quite a few of those games but have come up a little bit short."

One of the losses to Oklahoma was 5-4 in 10 innings, Wichita State rallied to beat the Indians 8-7 and Southwest Missouri needed 15 innings to squeeze out a 5-3 victory.

Bolstering the Indians' bid for an upset today should be the fact their pitching staff is in good shape. Southeast played just five innings of a scheduled doubleheader against Lipscomb Saturday, posting a 3-1 rain-shortened victory in the opener behind ace hurler Brad Purcell. The second game was rained out.

Brandon Smith (6-1, 4.06 earned-run average), the Indians' No. 2 starter, will start today and Purcell (6-2, 2.81) will be available for relief work.

Oklahoma State has two impressive starters in Chris Reilly (6-0, 2.53) and Scott Baker (5-0, 2.68).

The Cowboys also have a high-powered offense, batting a collective .323 with 56 home runs. Paul Powell has 12 homers.

Following today's action, the Indians will return home for a key three-game weekend series with preseason conference favorite Austin Peay (20-20, 5-4).

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