Southeast Missouri State baseball has no answers on offense in 4-0 loss to Purdue

Friday, March 3, 2017
Chris Osborne of Southeast runs towards third during a game between Southeast Missouri and Purdue Friday, March 3, 2017 at Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau. Purdue won 4-0.
Andrew J. Whitaker ~ Southeast Missourian

On a day when the Southeast Missouri State baseball team was without one of its best players, the Redhawks found themselves on their heels early and often.

Southeast couldn’t get any offense going and fell to visiting Purdue 4-0 on Friday afternoon at Capaha Field, as the hosts suffered their first home loss of the season.

The Boilermakers (4-4) scored one run in the first inning, three in the fifth and got an excellent outing on the mound from Tanner Andrews, who threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits, striking out eight and walking none.

“He was pounding the strike zone with a three-pitch mix — he did a good job of throwing his fastball, his slider and his changeup for a strike. it kept us off balance a bit,” Southeast senior center fielder Dan Holst said. “I think you could tell he was definitely the aggressor and he took the fight to us and we were on our heels a little bit. We just need to do a better job of getting in the box and being ready to hit.”

Southeast (5-3) managed just two runners in scoring position all day, and only twice had a base runner with less than two outs.

A multiple exposure of Clay Chandler of Southeast Missouri throws a pitch during a game between Southeast Missouri and Purdue Friday, March 3, 2017 at Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau. Purdue won 4-0.
Andrew J. Whitaker ~ Southeast Missourian

“If your only base runners are with two outs, you don’t get to run a whole lot offense with that,” Southeast coach Andy Sawyers said. “We got the leadoff hitter in the ninth, and that was the only time. He kept the leadoff guy off base eight straight times, and if you’re doing that, you’re really limiting people’s options to do anything — to bunt or steal or whatever.”

It didn’t help that the Redhawks were without regular leadoff hitter Trevor Ezell, who is out with a back issue.

Ezell is considered day-to-day, suffering from a shooting pain into his leg. Sawyers said the the junior infielder can play once the pain diminishes.

“It kind of discombobulates everything,” Sawyers said. “We’ve finally got Danny (Holst) going right and we want him in the three-hole, and then we lose our leadoff hitters so we move [Holst] and put him in the leadoff hole. Danny swung the bat good today, but it would be nice if he was hitting with Trevor on base.

“ … But that’s part of it. You’re not going to have guys healthy all year long and we’re certainly not going to use that as an excuse. The guys that are in there, we have confidence in.”

Clay Chandler (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season despite a solid effort that saw him go seven innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

Chase Hagerty threw two scoreless innings of relief.

“I thought Clay did a great job today, and same thing with Hagerty,” Holst said. “If they do that most days we win the baseball game. I think it’s just up to us as an offense and as a defense to play better and cleaner baseball, and I think we’ll do that, we just need to be more aggressive.”

Boilermaker third baseman Logan Poisall went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored while catcher Nick Dalesandro was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Holst had two of Southeast’s four hits on the day. Chris Osborne added a double and Brian Lees had a single.

That was the extent of what the Redhawks could muster against Andrews (3-0).

“You start to second guess yourself a little bit,” Holst said, “and you can’t do that against a high-level guy because it’s hard to out-think him out there.”

Despite entering the came mired in a 22-inning scoreless drought, Purdue jumped on top right away, as designated hitter Mike Madej blooped a double into right field with one out, and Nick Dalesandro came up and brought him home with a seeing-eye single under the glove of a diving Connor Basler at shortstop to put the visitors up 1-0 after half an inning.

Then the bottom half of the Boilermaker order got to Chandler in the top of the fifth inning, though, as doubles by Logan Poisall and Evan Warden plated one run before a grounded single by nine-hitter John LeGare — in his first collegiate appearance — pushed the visitors’ advantage to 3-0.

LeGare moved to second on a throw home and then to third on a ground out, and that base running allowed him to score on a wild pitch and extend the differential to 4-0.

“I thought he was fine,” Sawyers said of Chandler. “I just thought they out-competed some pitches.

“The run in the first, the guy hits the ball of the end of the bat and it falls down the line for a double. Most of their RBIs were balls that found holes. … It wasn’t as if they just lined up and hit the ball off the wall, they just out-competed us. They got some sliders down and they could have rolled over them, but they stayed through them and poked them through holes.”

The hosts threatened in the bottom of the second when Osbourne smacked a two-out double to left-center field, but he was left standing there after a Chris Caffrey drive to the same spot saw Purdue center fielder Skyler Hunter make a sliding grab on the warning track to end the threat.

Chandler found his groove after giving up the first-inning run, retiring 11 consecutive batters. He threw first-pitch strikes to the first 13 batters he faced.

The same couldn’t be said of the SEMO offense.

Holst got a one-out single to right in the bottom of the sixth, his second hit of the day. A single by Lees put two on with two out for Tristan Gagan, but the junior flew out to center to end the inning.

Purdue got a leadoff double from Poisall for the second time in the game in the top of the seventh, but Chandler worked out of it.

It was, however, the end of Chandler’s day.

The top of the ninth saw more trouble for SEMO when, following back-to-back infield singles, Warden was hit by a pitch for the the seventh time in eight games to load the bases with one out.

Hagerty, however, worked out of the jam with a pop out in foul territory and a fly ball to left.

It was enough for Purdue, though, as the Redhawks stranded a runner at first in the bottom of the ninth, still unable to solve Andrews.

Robert Beltran will take to the mound for Southeast on Saturday as SEMO tries to bounce back in the final weekend series before conference play begins with a three-game series at Morehead State beginning Friday. In between, the Redhawks travel to Arkansas State on Tuesday.

“I didn’t think we played poorly today, but I thought we let [Andrews] get into a rhythm and be the aggressor,” Sawyers said. “I would like to come out tomorrow and try to be more aggressive and try to throw the first punch and keep them on their heels. Even if we don’t score early, just the fact we can stay with it and keep coming. … I’d like to see us show a little more grit and a little more resiliency.”

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