Tribe Opens OVC Play With Offensive Outburst
March 27, 2004
Cape Girardeau, Mo. - The Southeast Missouri State Indians used an 11-run first inning Saturday afternoon to propel them to a pair of victories over Murray State (5-16, 0-2 OVC) at Capaha Field and a 2-0 OVC record.
Southeast (9-11, 2-0 OVC) fell behind 2-0 in the first inning, but countered by sending 15 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the inning. Junior shortstop Ernie Bracamonte hit a two-run home run to right-center to tie the game 2-2. The next big blow for the Tribe came from the bat of catcher Brady Noll. The junior backstop hit a three-run homer off the top of the wall in right-center field. For Noll, it was his team-leading third home run of the year. Southeast would tack on four more unearned runs in the inning. Bracamonte, along with his home run, also had a single in the frame, and junior first baseman Freddy Lopez had a single and a double in the first inning.
Southeast knocked out Murray starter Craig Kraus (0-4) after he completed just two-thirds of an inning. To his defense, of the 11 runs the junior right hander gave up, just one was earned. Freshman Charlie Wade replaced Kraus, and fared little better, giving up eight runs over the next five and one-third innings.
In addition to the 11 first-inning runs, Southeast scored another run in the second, four more in the third, and three more in the fourth.
Southeast starter Anthony Maupin (3-2) pitched six innings to earn the victory. He went six innings, giving up four runs and six hits along the way, while striking up four and walking none.
Freshman Brent Lawson, who started the game in right field, relieved Maupin in the seventh inning, and pitched two innings of scoreless/hitless ball. Lawson started the game in right field and went 3-for-6 from the plate, lacking just a triple from hitting for the cycle. His third-inning home run drove in two of his three RBI in the game.
Redshirt freshman Mark Wittenborn closed out the game from the mound for Southeast, giving up a run on one hit, and striking out two.
Lopez finished game one 4-for-5 with four runs and an RBI. Bracamonte went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a pair of runs scored. Junior DH Eric Hoffman went 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBI, and three runs scored.
Noll ended the day 2-for-3, with a run and three RBI, while junior Eric Horstman went 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI.
Game two with the 'Breds proved much closer. Each team scored a lone run in the second inning before Southeast jumped ahead 4-1 in the third on a three-run home run by Lopez. Lopez finished game two 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBI, and missed hitting a grand slam by a matter of feet in the fourth inning. On the day, Lopez went 6-for-9 with six runs scored and four driven in. He raised his batting average from .250 to .327 with the outstanding doubleheader performance, and now shares the lead in home runs for Southeast with three four-baggers.
After Murray added a run in the top of the fourth to make it 4-2, junior Frankie Montiel gave the Tribe two more insurance runs with a sixth-inning two-run homer to left-center field. It was the first home run for Montiel, who is now hitting .367, and slugging a team-high .567. He finished game two 2-for-4 with two runs and a pair of RBI. Horstman and Noll both went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the second game of the twin bill.
Junior Mike Fitch (1-2) earned his first win of the season, going four innings and allowing two runs. Closer Brad Smith earned his team-high third save of the year, by going three innings to close out the game. Smith gave up just one hit while striking out three to close the door.
The same two teams will be at it tomorrow at 1 p.m. to finish the three-game series. Southeast is 9-2 this year at Capaha Field, and will try to reach the .500 mark on the season with a win tomorrow.