After struggling to just one run in 16 innings in an opening split, the Southeastern Savage Storm erupted with one of their best offensive outings of the season to topple Henderson State, 7-1, at The Ballpark in Durant on Sunday to claim the Great American Conference series.
Coach Mike Metheny’s squad posted a 1-0 victory and also took a 1-0 loss in first two games of the series on Saturday. They have now won four of their last six league contests after limiting the Reddies to only two runs over 25 innings during the three-game set.
“We really pitched well all weekend long,” Metheny commented. “We kept their leadoff off base which was really the key. (Brandon) Wolski did a great job coming in to finish two of those after strong starts. I thought we played really good against a really good team. They are one of the top teams in our conference with the best pitching of anybody. And we beat two of their best.
“It was nice to get our hitters going a little. They have slumped some early in the season but hopefully they are a little more loose and positive now. We are capable of putting together games like Sunday. We just haven’t done it before this weekend. Maybe that will help us turn the corner a little. Overall though it was a great weekend for us.”
The Savage Storm close out their longest homestand of the season today at 2 p.m. with a non-conference single game against Oklahoma Christian.
Metheny is also now just two wins away from breaking the NCAA Division II record for most coaching victories.
Southeastern 7, Henderson State 1
Heading into the rubber game matchup, the Savage Storm chances had to be considered iffy at best following a tough offensive Saturday and facing Henderson State’s Chris Hunt, who had no hit them in the conference tournament to end their season a year ago.
Southeastern’s offense however was able to solve the Reddies’ righthander early and often this time, tagging him for seven runs on nine hits in less than four innings of work.
The Storm went quietly through the opening two stanzas before coming to life with two outs in the third. Travis Spinney coaxed a walk, Cade Clay singled and both scored on a double by Hunter Harrison for a 2-0 advantage.
After Henderson answered with a single tally in the fourth, the offensive flurry spread over to the bottom of the frame when the hosts pushed across five runs to knock Hunt out of the game.
Luke Thomas doubled with one down ahead of singles from Jett Swigart and Garrin Young. Clay contributed a two-run double with two outs and Harrison also chipped in a two-run homer over the leftfield wall to extend the lead to 7-1.
That was plenty of support for starting hurler Hayden Grimes, who worked into the seventh by maneuvering through a couple of jams thanks to solid defense behind him. He allowed just one earned run on six hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
Michael Brinska came on to dodge trouble by inducing a double play to get out of the seventh unscathed and then was relieved by Brandon Wolski, who did the same in the eighth.
Southeastern wrapped up with 11 hits in the contest, its third highest total in any game this season. Harrison led the charge with two of those as well as four RBI. Clay, Swigart and Brett Akins also contributed two hits apiece.
Southeastern 1, Henderson State 0
In Saturday’s lid-lifter, the Savage Storm got a sensational combined pitching performance from ace Mike Wade and Wolski as they teamed for the nine-inning shutout.
Wade twirled the opening six frames, scattering six hits with a pair of strikeouts and three walks while Wolski fired the final three for the save, yielding four hits with three strikeouts.
It was a scoreless stalemate until the sixth when Southeastern finally broke the ice for what proved to be the game’s lone run.
Thomas opened the innings with a single and Spinney reached on a Henderson State error. Each moved up one base on Clay’s sacrifice bunt and Thomas raced home on a Harrison RBI groundout.
The hosts managed just one other hit – a Jake Perez single in the fifth – but made the most of their one run thanks to outstanding pitching and stellar defense.
Henderson State 1, Southeastern 0
The Savage Storm worked another pitching gem from southpaw Scott Richards, who fired a two-hitter but a Henderson State solo home run by Joe Myers in the second inning proved to be the difference.
Richards was sensational in allowing just five total baserunners in the complete game effort as he struck out four.
Southeastern’s bats however were also limited to just three total hits on singles by Harrison, Akins and Swigart against Reddie mound stalwart Bryant Haralson.
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or [email protected]