STARKVILLE, Miss. – Southeast Missouri (39-21) was eliminated with a 9-4 loss to Louisiana Tech (41-19) Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Regional at Dudy Noble Field.
Southeast broke yet another record in its historic 2016 season, this time reaching a new single-season mark in runs scored with 474. That total edged its previous record of 473 set by last year’s club.
Louisiana Tech knocked out Southeast Second-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference starter Clay Chandler with two outs in the third inning and sent nine hitters to the plate during its decisive fourth inning surge.
Seven-hole hitter Brent Diaz tied the game with a solo home run off Redhawks left-handed reliever Adam Pennington to start the rally. Diaz’s homer to left was only the second allowed by Pennington in 19 appearances this season.
Chandler Hall worked the count full before hitting a double that dropped just inside the right field line and J.D. Perry singled to give the Bulldogs runners at the corners with no outs. Hall came around to score the go-ahead run on a bunt single by Bryce Stark.
On the next play, Jonathan Washam was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one away and that was it for Pennington. Pennington recorded two outs against the seven hitters he faced.
Jake Busiek inherited the jam and got one out before Cody Daigle launched a grand slam to left center on a 3-1 pitch, upping Louisiana Tech’s lead to 8-3. Daigle’s round-tripper was his 11th of the season.
Southeast wasted little time jumping on First-Team All-Conference USA right-hander Casey Sutton. Sutton leads Conference USA and ranks 11th in the nation with a 1.63 ERA.
Second-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference second baseman Trevor Ezell delivered the game’s first hit with a single to left center and went to second on a four-pitch walk by Chris Osborne.
Following a Garrett Gandolfo strikeout, Dan Holst drove Sutton’s third offering over the right field wall to grab the Redhawks a quick 3-0 lead. Holst’s home run was his eighth of the season, as Sutton gave up three runs in a start for only the fourth time this year.
Sutton, however, settled down to hold the Redhawks scoreless for six inning.
Washam ignited a two-out rally to get Louisiana Tech on the board in the bottom half of the first inning. Washam walked, advanced to second on a throwing error and scored an unearned run on Daigle’s base hit to center, dicing Southeast’s lead to 3-1.
Louisiana Tech pulled to within a run in run in the bottom of the third. Washam doubled down the right field line and scored on an ensuing single by cleanup hitter Chase Lunceford. Both Washam and Lunceford were behind in the count before getting their hits which helped close Southeast’s lead to 3-2.
Busiek gave way to Robert Beltran immediately after Hall homered to push Louisiana Tech’s lead to 9-3 in the fifth. Hall’s solo shot was the third home run in two innings for the Bulldogs.
Southeast later used three-straight one-out singles to load the bases and pose its biggest threat in the top of the eighth. Ezell walked and Daniel Costello scored. Costello reached on an infield single which started the stretch of hits that led to Sutton exiting the game.
The Redhawks had a chance with the tying run on deck twice, but Bulldogs reliever Casey Sullivan struck out Osborne and got Gandolfo to groundout to second, keeping the score at 9-4.
Sutton improved to 8-1 this season after giving up four runs on 10 hits in 7.1 innings. He struck out four and walked four, as well.
Sullivan struck out four in 1.2 innings to hold off Southeast down the stretch.
Pennington (4-1) fell to his first loss of the year. He worked 0.2 innings, struck out one and allowed five runs on four hits. Chandler scattered four hits and gave up two runs in 2.2 innings of his no-decision.
Beltran was strong out of the bullpen, striking out two and allowing just two hits in 3.2 scoreless innings.
Ezell went 3-for-4 with a run scored, walk and RBI to lead the Redhawks. Hunter Leeper, Costello and Andy Lackfollowed with two hits apiece. Lack started for the injured Branden Boggetto at shortstop. Boggetto started 120 consecutive games before missing today’s contest with a hand injury.
Daigle went 3-for-4 with a run scored and five RBIs. Louisiana Tech finished with 12 hits, five of which went for extra bases.
Southeast had 11 hits and left 12 runners on base.
For the full text, visit GoSoutheast.com.