SOUTHEAST BASEBALL DEFEATS NO. 16 ALABAMA, 8-3
Feb. 21, 2009
By Tyler Koonce, Sports Information Assistant
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Southeast Missouri State (1-1) baseball defeated No. 16 Alabama (1-1) Saturday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, 8-3. Senior left-hander James Leigh threw the final seven and one-thirds innings, allowing only one run with seven strikeouts. Jim Klocke, Matt Wagner and Trenton Moses all drove in two runs.
The Redhawks got off to a hot start with two runs in the top of the first inning. After Nick Harris led off with a single to left-center, he moved to second on a groundout and advanced to third on an infield single by Tyrell Cummings. Matt Wagner followed with a routine ground ball to second base but All-American Ross Wilson had the ball go between his legs into right field, scoring Harris and allowing Cummings to go to third. Moses then hit a run-scoring single through the right side, bringing Cummings home for an early 2-0 lead.
Alabama answered in the bottom of the second inning, plating two runs to tie the score. Brandon May led off with a single through the left side and tagged up to go to second on a deep fly ball to center field. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, he scored when Kyle Moore hit a fly ball to right field that was dropped by Tyrell Cummings.
Southeast starter Todd Strahlendorf injured his hamstring on the pitch to Moore and exited the game after one and two-thirds innings. Head Coach Mark Hogan called upon fifth-year senior James Leigh (1-0) to take the mound which would end up being the last pitching change Hogan would make all night.
Following a double steal by Moore and Kyle Matthes, Leigh was called for a balk by home plate umpire Rickey Armstrong, plating Matthes. Leigh then induced a fly ball to get out of the inning and was on his way to one of the best outings of his career.
Freshman Kenton Parmley drew a 2-out walk in the top of the third inning and then advanced to second on a single up the middle by Tony Spencer. After a walk to Harris, All-American Jim Klocke came through with a 2-strike single to left-center field, scoring Parmley and Spencer and giving the Redhawks a lead they would never relinquish.
Leigh would take control on the mound and retired 15 of the next 19 batters he faced. He located all his pitches, keeping Crimson Tide hitters off-balance for the duration of his outing.
The Redhawks added three insurance runs in the top of the sixth with Klocke again instigating a rally. He again singled to left-center and moved up a base when Cummings singled through the left side. Wagner then delivered a solid single up the middle, scoring Klocke. Moses followed with his second run-scoring single of the game as he went with an outside pitch, driving it through the hole on the right side of the infield. Justin Wheeler drove in Wagner on a fielder's choice to first base, giving SEMO a 7-2 advantage, their largest lead of the contest.
Clay Jones led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo home run to left-center for Alabama, the final run surrended by Leigh. Only two runners reached third base for the Crimson Tide after Leigh entered in the bottom of the second inning.
To finish out the contest, Leigh struck out Ryan Rhoden swinging, giving Southeast their second victory over a Top 25 opponent in the last 10 months. The Redhawks defeated No. 6 Vanderbilt, 12-8, on April 1, 2008.
Leigh's final line was seven and one-thirds innings with seven strikeouts, allowing six hits and just one earned run. He issued only one walk on the evening.
Nathan Kilcrease (0-1) took the loss for Alabama after surrendering the two earned runs during the top of the third inning.
Cummings, Moses and Spencer all finished with three hits while Klocke registered a multi-hit performance.
The teams will play a deciding game three Sunday at 2:05 p.m. Lefty Greg Hendrix will take the mound for Southeast against left-hander Adam Morgan of Alabama. The game can be heard live on ESPN1220.com and live streaming video is available at CrimsonTradition.com.