JACKSON, Tenn. – The Southeast Missouri baseball team won its third overall Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Tournament Sunday with back-to-back wins over Jacksonville State in the championship round, 10-7, 14-8.
This is the third OVC Tournament Championship in the program’s history. Southeast Missouri won the title in 1998 and 2002.
With the OVC Tournament title, the Redhawks have punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Southeast will play at a regional site to be announced Monday morning.
Fans are welcome to join the Redhawks baseball team at Wings Etc. in Cape Girardeau at 11 a.m., CT, for an NCAA Selection Show watch party. The Selection Show will air on ESPNU.
Senior left-handed pitcher Joey Lucchesi was named the OVC Tournament MVP. Lucchesi pitched a complete game shutout against Morehead State to begin tournament play then pitched a three-inning save in the title game. In two appearances, Lucchesi gave up no runs in 12 innings pitched. He struck out nine hitters.
Southeast Missouri needed to defeat Jacksonville State in Game 10 to force a winner-take-all Game 11. The Redhawks won Game 10.
Game Ten – Southeast Missouri 10, Jacksonville State 7 Jacob Lawrence pitched five and a third innings in his eighth start on the mound. He allowed four runs on seven hits en route to his fourth victory (4-1). Lawrence struck out four and walked three on 109 pitches.
Justin Murphy pitched two and two-third innings in relief. He allowed three runs, just one earned, on two hits.
Adam Pennington picked up his second save of the season when he came in to pitch in the ninth inning, slamming the door on the Gamecock offense.
The Redhawks’ offense out-powered the Gamecocks with 12 hits. Andy Lack and Gandolfo led the way with three hits each while Branden Boggetto and Gandolfo each drove in a trio of runs.
The Redhawks tagged JSU for a single run in the top of the first to start the game. With one out, Chris Osbornedoubled to the left center gap and moved up to third on the play on a bobble by the left fielder. Boggetto grounded out to his counterpart at short to plate Osborne and give the Redhawks a 1-0 lead in the opening frame.
Southeast added a pair of runs in the top of the third to widen the lead on Jacksonville State. Trevor Ezell started the inning with a double off the wall in right field. He came around to score on a triple by Boggetto. Boggetto then trotted home on a double that cut the left center gap off the bat of Gandolfo. The Redhawks led 3-0 heading to the bottom of the third.
Jacksonville plated a single run in the bottom half of the inning. Taylor Hawthorne reached on an infield single to first base that scored A.J. Reynolds, cutting into the Southeast lead, 3-1.
A five spot by the Redhawks in the top of the fourth opened up a nice lead on Jacksonville State. Lack started the offensive output with a one-out single to center. Back-to-back two-out walks to Ezell and Osborne loaded the bases and knocked Derrick Adams out of the contest. Michael McCreless issued a bases-loaded walk to Boggetto, the first batter he faced. Gandolfo and Leeper each knocked a two-RBI single to plate a combined four runs and open an 8-1 lead in the fourth.
An RBI groundout by Tyler Gamble plated a run for the Gamecocks in the fifth, making it an 8-2 contest.
JSU made a significant dent in the Redhawk lead in the sixth inning. A one-out walk knocked Lawrence out of the game. Reynolds ripped a triple to left center to welcome Murphy into the contest, plating two runs. Reynolds scored on a sacrifice fly by Gavin Golsan, cutting the Southeast lead to 8-5 after six.
A two-RBI base knock to right center by Brian Lees in the top of the seventh scored Holst and Leeper to widen the lead back to five at 10-5.
The Gamecocks loaded the bases with no out in the bottom of the ninth. A bases-loaded walk off Jake Busiekplated one run for JSU. Pennington entered and got Elliot McCummings to ground into a 4-6-3 double play for the first two out, however a run scored. A flyout to Holst in center ended the game at 10-7, forcing the winner-take-all game.
Hawthorne finished the first game with three hits while Reynolds had two with two RBI.
Adams (3-4) picked up the loss for JSU. He pitched three and two-thirds innings, allowed six runs on six hits.
Game 11 – Southeast Missouri 14, Jacksonville State 8 Robert Beltran made his second start in as many days against the Gamecocks in Game 11. Beltran worked only one and two thirds innings but struck out a couple, allowing three runs on four hits.
Brady Wright (1-2) pitched four innings out of the pen. Wright allowed just two runs on two hits while striking out five and walking none. Wright picked up the win in relief, his first of the season.
Lucchesi entered in the seventh inning and worked three innings en route to his first save of the season. It was the lefty’s first stint out of the pen since early in 2015. Lucchesi fanned three batters in his three innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball.
Southeast pegged the Gamecocks for four runs in the first inning. With one out, Ezell stole third then scored on a throwing error by the catcher on the throw down to third. With runners on the corners, Holst plugged the right-center gap to plate both runs and widen the early lead to 3-0. Holst then scored on a single by Leeper to make it 4-0 after one inning of play.
Golsan hit a bases-loaded triple to clear the bases and cut the Redhawk lead to 4-3 in the top of the second inning.
Four Gamecock runs scored in the top of the third to take a 7-4 lead on Southeast.
Southeast got a run back in the bottom of the fourth on a a fielding error by the shortstop, bringing the JSU lead to two, 7-5.
Leeper drilled a two-run home run to left field to tie the game up at seven runs apiece in the fifth inning.
An RBI groundout by Daniel in the sixth put JSU back on top by a run, 8-7.
Ezell led off the fifth inning with a triple to right field. He scored on an RBI bunt for a hit by Osborne to retie the game. Gandolfo plated Osborne with a double down the left field line, putting the Redhawks back on top, 9-8.
Southeast plated four runs in the seventh inning to open a 13-8 lead on the Gamecocks. Southeast used an RBI single by Ezell, a passed ball, and a two-RBI base hit by Gandolfo to open a comfy lead late in the contest.
Lees added an insurance run in the eighth to widen the lead to 14-8.
Lucchesi didn’t need any insurance, however. Gamble hit a one-out single up the middle but Lucchesi got McCummings to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game and clinch the title.
Southeast strung together 17 hits in the game. Mitchell finished 4-for-4 with two doubles.
Ezell and Gandolfo each scattered three hits while Gandolfo and Leeper drove in three runs apiece.
JSU used a total of five pitchers in the game. Nate Sylvester (1-2) suffered the loss.
The only Gamecock with a multi-hit game was Hawthorne, who finished 3-for-4; however, Golsan had three RBI.