It’s never a good day when pitchers allow the lead off batter to reach base, but whenever it happens in all but one inning, it becomes a nightmare.

APSU woke up from it on Sunday, April 14 as Southeast Missouri put a beating on the Govs, 19-7, to leave Raymond C. Hand Park with wins in two out of three games in a series full of offense.

The conference-leading Red Hawks (24-11, 15-3 OVC) ripped 20 hits off the Govs in the contest, with the 19 surrendered being the most runs APSU (14-22, 6-9 OVC) has given up in one game since March 23 of last season. Another 11 SEMO batters were able to reach base off walks, hit by pitches, and one error, which made it impossible for the Govs to come back from.

“We just couldn’t get much pitching and they took advantage of that,” APSU head coach Gary McClure said. “We walked the lead off guy over and over, and that’s how the game started. It’s just a bad tone for our ball club. I just have to give SEMO all the credit. They came out and swung the bats extremely well.”

After the Govs offense was able to score four runs in the first inning to take a 4-2 lead, the tide turned as SEMO roughed up starting pitcher Levi Primasing, who lasted just one and a third of an inning. Zach Walton came on in early relief, but do-it-all man Cole Ferguson drilled a three-run homer to left-center, capping off a six-run inning.

As if the Govs’ heads weren’t already hanging, SEMO capitalized again in the third inning off early base runners to total three more in the third, giving themselves 11 runs on the scoreboard after only nine outs were recorded. Similar to Saturday’s game where the APSU offense went cold throughout the middle of the game, the Govs were sat down in order in the third and fourth.

“We gotta go out there and make them work like they’re making our pitchers work,” said Rolando Gautier, who went 6-for-10 with seven runs scored on the weekend. “Those pitches up that we were missing or fouling off are pitches we’ve gotta hit through the infield like they were pretty much the whole game.”

Highlighting the SEMO stat sheet was Matt Tellor who went 5-for-6 with five RBI at the plate, while Jason Blum scored five runs in the lead off spot. One more run would have given him the school record for most times scored in a game.

For the second game in a row, just one extra base hit was recorded for the Govs. Freshman Dre Gleason had both — a solo homer on Saturday along with a double on Sunday. Gleason went 6-for-12 with five RBI in three games, and with Gautier and Cayce Bredlau getting on base consistently at the top of the lineup, he loves where he’s at in the clean-up spot.

But with the runs continuing to add up, you can’t ask for your offense to do much as a coach.

“You just gotta get a stop somewhere, and we didn’t do that,” McClure said. “After a while, guys can only come back so many times. It starts taking its toll on you mentally I think and guys try to do too much. The odds start stacking against you a little bit. You just can’t give up runs like that when your team scores.”

The Govs will begin a four-game road trip on Wednesday, April 16 at Southern Illinois before a three-game set at Belmont from Thursday, April 17 to Saturday, April 19.

Photo: Rolando Gautier (Corey Adams/The All State)