Redhawks Advance to Championship Round With Win Over Jacksonville State
May 24, 2008
PADUCAH, Ky. - Pitching, defense and Matt Wagner continued to highlight the Redhawks run toward a 2008 OVC Baseball Tournament championship in a 6-4 win over the regular season champion Jacksonville State Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium in Paducah, Ky.
Southeast (26-25) avenged a heart-breaking, come-from-behind loss to the Gamecocks in the second round of the tournament by eliminating No. 1 Jacksonville State, which lost Friday evening to No. 4 Eastern Illinois in the winner's bracket final.
In the Noon elimination game, the Redhawks wasted no time jumping on Gamecocks starting pitcher Nick Hetland, who threw six and one-third innings of two-hit, shutout baseball in game one of the regular season series at
The home run was the first for Southeast in
It would not be the last, as Wagner hit another home run later in the game. The left-handed swinging first baseman's second home run of the day was a majestic, towering two-run home run in the fifth inning that gave Southeast a 5-0 lead.
The Redhawks led by five after Wagner's second homer thanks to some outstanding pitching by starter Josh Syberg and the defense behind him.
Syberg, entering the game without a win, tossed five consecutive shutout innings against the league's top-scoring offense. The sophomore southpaw struck out three Gamecocks in the first three innings, and the regular season champions never threatened to score until the fourth inning.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the inning,
After the threat in the fourth, Syberg threw a scoreless fifth before the Gamecocks got on the board on a Daniel Adamson solo home run to left field.
Trailing, 5-1 the relentless
Ryan Poole entered in relief, and after hitting the first batter he faced to load the bases with no outs,
Syberg ended the day with six innings pitched and three runs allowed on seven hits. The former OVC All-Freshman Team selection struck out four and walked two as he picked up his first win of the season.
In the ninth inning, opening-round starting pitcher Dustin Renfrow entered to close the game. The senior right-hander mowed through the top three batters in the Gamecocks lineup, including strikeouts of OVC Rookie of the Year Todd Cunningham and All-OVC First Team second baseman Bert Smith. It was Renfrow's first career save.
The Redhawks become the first No. 6 seed to advance to the championship round of the tournament since the six-team format began in 1997. They play the Eastern Illinois Panthers Saturday at 3:30 p.m. If they defeat the Panthers, Southeast will play for the 2008 tournament championship on Sunday at Noon.