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'Fantastic effort' - Indians upset OSU
STILLWATER, Okla. -- It was a nine-hour bus ride with an exciting payoff.
Southeast Missouri State University's baseball team stunned 16th-ranked Oklahoma State 5-3 on the road Tuesday for what is believed to be only Southeast's second victory against a nationally ranked Division I squad, the other in 1997 against Wichita State 14-6.
"It's just a tremendous feeling," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "We played great in every respect, the whole team. It was a fantastic effort against a great team.
"These are special opportunities for a program like ours. This is why we make a trip like this."
Southeast (19-14) built a 5-0 lead, then rode the brilliant pitching of Brandon Smith and Tim Alvarez to upset the Cowboys (29-12).
OSU entered as the top offensive team in the Big 12 Conference with 56 home runs and a .323 batting average. But the Cowboys were held to their lowest hits total of the season -- five -- by Smith and Alvarez.
"They were both tremendous," Hogan said. "To shut down one of the best offensive teams in the country is really something."
Smith (7-1) gave up four hits and three runs in five-plus innings, with six strikeouts and five walks. He ran into trouble in the sixth as the first two Cowboys singled, but Alvarez came on to retire the next three hitters and preserve the 5-3 lead.
"This definitely feels good," Smith said. "We didn't drive 18 hours for nothing. This makes the trip a lot better."
Alvarez was able to keep the Cowboys scoreless the rest of the way. In four innings, he gave up just one hit, with two strikeouts and one walk, to earn a save.
"It feels great to beat them and hold them to their lowest hit total of the season," Alvarez said. "I didn't think I had my best stuff. I only really had my fastball today, but I guess it was moving."
The Indians banged out 14 hits -- eight of their nine starters hit safely -- led by Clemente Bonilla's 4-for-4 performance that included three doubles.
"We've been playing well and we came close to beating Oklahoma and Wichita State earlier in the season, so we thought we could come here and do this," Bonilla said. "We got a lot of good swings. Everybody hit up and down the lineup."
Denver Stuckey, Tristen McDonald and Brian Hopkins all added two hits. Stuckey got his third home run of the season and scored three times while Vern Hatton extended his hitting streak to 17 games.
Southeast jumped on top with two runs in the first inning. Stuckey led off with a single and advanced to third on Bonilla's double. With one out, Hatton's sacrifice fly plated Stuckey. Bonilla then came home on a wild pitch.
Stuckey's leadoff homer in the third made it 3-0 and Tristen McDonald delivered a two-out RBI single for a 4-0 lead.
Bonilla's RBI double in the fourth made it 5-0 and ended the Indians' scoring on the day.
OSU got a two-run homer from Paul Powell in the bottom of the fourth -- his 13th home run of the season -- and added a run in the fifth that rounded out their scoring.
The Indians, in first place in the Ohio Valley Conference, will have a key home series this weekend against preseason league favorite Austin Peay.