In the error column on the home side of the scoreboard, there was a number five. While it wasn’t the highest total APSU has had this season, there were many more mistakes which cost the Govs a win.
As the blunders kept adding up late in the game, Southeast Missouri took advantage to pull away by a score of 10-9 after 12 innings, knotting the series on Saturday, April 12 at Raymond C. Hand Park.
The Govs (14-21, 6-8 OVC) jumped out to a 5-2 lead after four innings, with four being scored in the second inning. Dre Gleason led off with a solo homer into a tree that stands beyond the wall in right field, and three singles would follow. The long ball by Gleason was the lone extra base hit for the Govs out of 15, and once the fourth concluded, the bats went cold to total just two hits until the ninth inning arrived.
“We didn’t take advantage of opportunities early in the game,” APSU head coach Gary McClure said. “We did nothing from the fourth inning on. Nothing offensively. Absolutely nothing.”
Jared Carkuff made his first weekend start of his career, pitching four and a third innings, but struggled with his command to issue five walks. McClure said the pitching as a whole that featured seven different players on the mound wasn’t great, but did what they needed to do to keep them in the ballgame.
Even after taking an early lead, the energy in the dugout just wasn’t there though, which in a pivotal game against the number one team in the conference, it’s not a good sign.
“In the dugout, it didn’t feel like we were leading to be honest,” said senior Rolando Gautier, who went 3-for-5. “That’s something we need to come together on and figure out. With a team like that, when we have the lead we have to play like we have the lead.”
SEMO (23-11, 14-3 OVC) tied the game at 5-5 in the eighth, and an error on a pick off move to first base by Alex Belew gave the Red Hawks the lead. A single by Gleason in the bottom half of the inning would give the Govs their first hit since the fifth, but it was immediately erased as pinch-runner Wesley Purcell was picked off. So instead of a runner on with no outs, the Govs went scoreless once again to head to the ninth.
The ninth inning, to say the least, was a wild ride to get six outs.
The Red Hawks quickly turned a 6-5 lead into a four-run advantage as three costly mistakes were made in a row two outs. A routine fly ball to right-center was incorrectly played by Chase Hamilton, and shortstop Logan Gray made two throwing errors to first in consecutive plays.
However, despite a comfortable 9-5 edge with Christian Hull on the mound for SEMO, the lead wasn’t safe once the Govs loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. After Cayce Bredlau was hit by a pitch and Alex Robles singled to left, APSU maintained their focus and took advantage of a questionable strike zone from the home plate umpire Tommy Cepparulo.
Hull walked Logan Gray with the bases loaded, and did the same with P.J. Torres to tie the game at 9-9, much to the displeasure of the Red Hawks. After Dalton Hewitt was tossed in the seventh for arguing a close call at first, catcher Scott Mitchell was ejected in the ninth for arguing balls and strikes. The Govs had a chance to win it in as Garrett Copeland stood with a 3-2 count, fouling off what would have been ball four as the APSU dugout knew it too. After Copeland flied out to center, extra innings were needed to determine the outcome.
Both Ryan Quick for APSU and SEMO’s Greg Mosel pitched well to hold the offenses scoreless, until the 12th frame that is. Quick struck out four batters in two and a third innings — and even recorded his first career hit — but left a good pitch for SEMO’s three hole hitter Matt Tellor as he doubled home the go-ahead run, and eventual winning run.
In opportunities to put together a three-game winning streak, the Govs are now 0-5. While they put that stat behind them, more importantly is the rubber match of the series as APSU looks for its second-straight series win. First pitch on Sunday, April 13 will be at 1 p.m. as Levi Primasing takes the hill for the Govs.
Photo: Cayce Bredlau (Corey Adams/The All State)