Southeast Rallies from Early Deficit, Advances To Winner's Bracket
May 23, 2007
PADUCAH, Ky. - (Wednesday, May 23, 2007) Southeast Missouri State logged its first ever win against the Murray State Thoroughbreds in OVC tournament play to open up the 2007 O'Reilly OVC Baseball Championship. The Redhawks came back from an early 4-0 deficit to claim a 10-7 victory and move into the winner's half of the tournament bracket.
Heading into Wednesday's first-round contest of the tournament, senior outfielder Daryl Graham (Fort Scott, Kan./Cowley County CC) had just two home runs in his two-year career at Southeast. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Graham hit a majestic three-run home run to cap off a six-run inning that put the Redhawks (32-22) in the lead and shifted the momentum in their favor.
OVC Freshman of the Year Jim Klocke (St. Louis, Mo./Vianney HS) got the ball rolling for Southeast in the fourth, jump-starting a six-run inning with a solo home run to right-center field. The Redhawks followed with four more consecutive hits, starting with an Omar Padilla (Point Reyes Station, Calif./Santa Rosa CC) double off the base of the wall in left-center field.
Big XII transfers Matt Wagner (Wahoo, Neb./Nebraska) and Matt Wulfers (Cape Girardeau, Mo./Missouri) followed with back-to-back singles; Wagner drove in Padilla from second with his base hit through the right side. After All-OVC first team selection Asif Shah (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) hit an RBI single to bring the Redhawks within a run, Graham's home run broke the game open with a two-out home run to put Southeast ahead 6-4.
The six-run inning came after Southeast fell behind early, 4-0. Southeast starter Dustin Renfrow (West Plains, Mo./Jefferson CC), an All-OVC second team starting pitcher, experienced some uncharacteristic wildness in the top of the second inning. After back-to-back one-out walks, Renfrow delivered a pitch in the dirt that allowed both runners to advance into scoring position. The wild pitch cost him a pair of runs when Thoroughbreds right fielder Jamie Leidolf delivered a two-RBI single up the middle.
Meanwhile, the Redhawks struggled at the plate early on. Southeast managed just one hit against Murray State starting pitcher Mike Perconte through the first three innings, though Perconte faced the minimum number of batters as the first-inning hit was erased with a double play.
Meanwhile, Renfrow settled down after ending the third frame. The junior right-hander retired ten consecutive Murray State batters beginning with the final out of the third inning. After Leidolf and Justin Yount reached base to lead off the seventh inning, junior relief pitcher Ivan Nails (Horn Lake, Miss./Southwest Tenn. CC) entered the game, ending Renfrow's evening on the mound.
After a bunt single loaded the bases, second team All-OVC second baseman and Cape Girardeau native Seth Hudson brought Murray State within one run with a sacrifice fly to left center field. With the tying run at second base and just one out, Nails got out of the jam with a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play; he struck out clean-up hitter Payton and Yount was thrown trying to steal third base.
The strikeout and caught stealing closed the book on Renfrow, who pitched six innings and was charged with five runs, three of which were earned, on just four hits. Renfrow (5-1) struck out five and walked just three, and he has yet to walk more than three batters in any of his 14 starts this season.
In the bottom of the seventh against, the Redhawks got the run back and moreagainst `Breds reliever Matt McGaha, claiming a 10-5 lead with four runs in the inning. Klocke had an RBI single that drove in freshman Nick Harris (Alabaster, Ala./Thompson HS) for the first run of the inning. He later scored on a wild pitch, and two other runs scored on a throwing error by the Murray State catcher.
Klocke proved why he was named OVC Freshman of the Year at Tuesday's awards banquet with a career-high four hits Wednesday, finishing 4-for-5 at the plate with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Perconte (6-7) was tagged with the loss for Murray State. He gave up six runs (all six earned) on eight hits through six innings pitched. The right-hander walked one and also struck out six batters.
Leidolf, who entered the game batting .257 this season, led the Thoroughbreds offensively with a 3-for-4 performance, including two RBIs and two runs scored.
Murray State will play No. 5 Eastern Kentucky Thursday at 11 a.m. The Colonels lost the first game of the tournament 8-3 to No. 3 Samford.
Southeast will advance to play No. 2 Jacksonville State at 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Shah will start on the mound for the Redhawks against Gamecocks left-hander Tony Drinkard. The game can be heard live on ESPN 1220 AM KGIR or via live webcast available at www.espn1220.com. A live video web stream package for the entire tournament is also available from OVCsports.tv.