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10-inning loss leaves Southeast with tough chore
PADUCAH, Ky. -- Murray State took a page out of Southeast Missouri State University's book to hand the Indians their first loss of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
The Indians have prided themselves all season on thriving in pressure situations, and they did to an extent Thursday.
But the fourth-seeded Thoroughbreds came through when it counted the most to stun the top-seeded Indians 4-3 in 10 innings.
"It was a tremendousgame, really dramatic, and we had our chances," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "You just have to hand it to Murray State. They played a great game."
Southeast (33-18), which won its tournament opener Wednesday, faces the prospect of needing three straight victories in the double-elimination event, two today and one Saturday, if it is to capture the title.
The OVC regular-season champion Indians begin their long trek back at 11 a.m. today when they face third-seeded Austin Peay (30-26), which also has one tournament loss. If Southeast wins, it will play at 7 p.m. against fifth-seeded Tennessee Tech (28-25), the only undefeated squad remaining.
"This club is tough enough to come back and do what it needs to do," Hogan said.
Murray State (20-32) is also 1-1 in the tournament and avoided elimination.
"It's our first win so it's a big one," Thoroughbreds coach Mike Thieke said. "The difference between SEMO and us is they've won a lot of close games and we've lost a lot of close games. It was great to pull this one out."
Southeast showed its mettle when, down to its final out and trailing 3-2, the Indians managed to tie the contest.
With one out in the top of the ninth, Brice Nicholas singled. Denver Stuckey bounced into a force out as he replaced Nicholas on the bases. Clemente Bonilla then drilled a single into the right-field corner and Stuckey, running on a 3-1 count, scored comfortably, with Bonilla taking second on the throw home.
"I thought the momentum came back into our dugout after we tied it," Bonilla said.
The Indians nearly went ahead as Zach Borowiak singled up the middle, but shortstop Mike Voyles was able to glove the ball behind second base and keep it from going into the outfield to prevent Bonilla from scoring. That play loomed large as the Thoroughbreds escaped the jam.
After the Indians failed to score with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the 10th, Murray State finally won it with an unearned run in the bottom of the frame to spoil a brilliant relief performance by Mark Frazier, who had pitched four scoreless and hitless innings.
Alex Stewart, who earlier in the game had hit his first home run of the season, led off with a single, but he was forced at second as John David Thieke failed to sacrifice. Woody Winchester was hit by a pitch and then a passed ball moved the runners to second and third with one out.
With Southeast's infield in, Todd Satterfield hit a ground ball to second baseman Bonilla, whose throw home got to catcher Tristen McDonald at about the same time Thieke was arriving. In a bang-bang play, Thieke dislodged the ball from McDonald and slid in safely to end things.
"I was just trying to put the tag down and I guess it was too fast," McDonald said.
Frazier (3-6) allowed just one hit in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.
"Mark was tremendous," Hogan said.
Southeast starter Tim Alvarez gave up five hits and three runs, just one earned, in 4 2/3 innings, as three of the Thoroughbreds' four runs were unearned.
"Our pitching was fine, but we made a few mistakes and didn't capitalize on our chances," said Hogan, whose squad stranded 13 runners. "Their pitchers did a great job."
Perhaps the star of the game for the Thoroughbreds was Scott Greene, a left-hander who allowed three hits and two runs in six innings while making his first start of the year. Rick McCarty (2-3) worked the final four innings for the win.
"Scott did what we absolutely had to have in that situation, getting the game in the late innings," Mike Thieke said.
Vern Hatton and Dave Lawson each had two of Southeast's nine hits while Brian Hopkins homered, his seventh of the year.
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