Smith Saves Southeast
May 11, 2004
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Southeast closer Brad Smith earned his ninth save of the season Tuesday night, breaking the single-season mark at Southeast (22-23, 11-9 OVC), and lead the Indians to a 6-4 victory over Arkansas State (24-24). However, it was no easy task for the side-winding right hander.
In the top of the eighth, with Southeast leading 5-4, Southeast starter Ryan Forsyth allowed a leadoff single. The next batter hit what appeared to be a double play ball, but shortstop Ernie Bracamonte booted it, allowing for a two-on no-out situation-just the type of pressure situation in which Smith thrives. Southeast Head Coach Mark Hogan brought in Smith and on the first pitch ASU first baseman Goeff Desmond attempted to sacrifice bunt. Southeast first baseman Keith Wollis was playing in and threw out the runner going to third, leaving runners at first and second with one out. On the next pitch, Smith got ASU left fielder Isaac Dillon to ground into a 1-4-3 double play to end the inning, and wrecked any hopes of a comeback for Arkansas State.
Forsyth (3-2) pitched seven full innings to earn the victory. In that time, he allowed four runs on eight hits, while striking out three and walking just one. The junior hurler got himself out of a jam in the top of the seventh. With two runners on and just one out, Forsyth coaxed ASU shortstop Mike Sirianni to pop up to shortstop. Then, he struck out standout third baseman Brad Hayes with a high heater. The top-hitter on the Arkansas State squad came into the game hitting .405, but was retired to end the inning after coming up short on Forsyth's fastball.
Forsyth struggled in the first inning, as he gave up a double to ASU leadoff man Brad Burkhead on the first pitch of the game. He retired the next batter before Hayes reached base on an error, which scored Burkhead. Then, ASU cleanup hitter and second baseman Chris Rich hit a two-run home run to left center to put Arkansas State up 3-0 before Southeast got a chance to bat.
Southeast got one run back in each of the first two innings. In the bottom of the first, Frankie Montiel reached base on a two-out double. Eric Hoffman followed and was hit by a pitch. Freshman right fielder Brent Lawson walked to load the bases and junior first baseman Freddy Lopez was hit by a pitch to drive in Montiel.
In the second, junior catcher Brady Noll led off the inning with a double to left center field. He tagged up and moved to third on a deep fly ball to center field by second baseman Bo Jenkins. Noll then scored on a ground out by Southeast leadoff hitter Eric Horstman.
Arkansas State tacked another run on in the top of the third when Burkhead walked to leadoff the inning. He later came in to score on a Forsyth wild pitch to make it 4-2.
In the fourth, Southeast took the lead by scoring three runs in the frame. Again, Noll led off the inning by reaching base. The junior backstop was hit by a pitch for the 10th time on the season. He's top on the team in that category, and is second in on-base percentage with a .414 mark. Jenkins followed with a walk. Horstman reached base on an infield single, and a throwing error by pitcher Derek Cunningham allowed all the runners to move up a base, including Noll who scored on the play.
Following an Ernie Bracamonte strikeout, Montiel hit his team-leading 17th double to drive in both Jenkins and Horstman, giving Southeast a 5-4 advantage. Montiel went 4-for-4 on the night with two doubles, two RBIs and one run scored. He now has 30 RBIs on the season, good for second on the team and increased his batting average to .333.
Southeast would add an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when junior Keith Wollis singled to lead off the inning and was sacrificed to second by senior third baseman Gary Gilbert. He advanced to third on a Noll groundout and scored on a two-out RBI-single by Jenkins.
Brad Smith took care of the rest, shutting down the ASU offense in order in the ninth, moving Southeast to just one game below .500 and tying it for its longest winning streak of four games. Smith currently boasts an ERA of 1.91 in a team-high 25 appearances. He also has held opposing batters to a .197 batting average and has the second most strikeouts on the team with 54.
Southeast will play its final home games of the season this weekend against Tennessee Tech (14-26, 9-12 OVC). The Tribe will play a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday followed by a single game Sunday at 1 p.m.