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Baseball - Tue, May 9, 2017

Blackhawks win two tough games to open up the series, but could not finish the job as they lose the final two games against Kirkwood on Saturday afternoon for the series split.

Cedar Rapids, IA – The Blackhawks hit the road this past weekend for conference showdown against neighboring Kirkwood Community College. Southeastern was in control of their destiny needing to win three of four games to secure a first round bye in this week's conference tournament.

Game one was a pitcher's duel. Otis Roby was matched up with Kirkwood's ace and coming into this game, had not surrendered an earned run in 27 conference innings.

Chase Wood leadoff the first inning with a hit by pitch on a 0-2 count. Vargas, the cleanup hitter, stepped into the batter's box with two outs and Wood still on first base. Vargas lined a base hit on the first pitch he saw in the at-bat to the right center field gap. Wood, running hard on contact, put the pressure on the Kirkwood centerfielder to cut the ball off in the gap and field it cleanly. A slight hesitation on fielding the ball allowed Coach Schulte to give Wood the green light as he approached 3rd base and sent him home. The relay throw and tag came in a half second too late as Wood prevailed to score the only run of the game.

Roby did his part on the mound for Southeastern as he scattered five hits over 5 2/3 innings to obtain the win. No Kirkwood baserunner reached third base in game one as Roby, Sam Noel, and Trace Hoffman, were able to control the talented running game of the Eagles.

The Eagles came out swinging early in game two as they were able to force Tanner Foster out of the game in 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the year. Kirkwood scored all of their eight runs within the first five innings of game two.

Trailing 8-2, heading into the top of the 6th inning, Southeastern rallied with a strong offensive effort and put four runs on the board. A leadoff error and two walks to start the inning, set the table for Dariel Torres's at-bat. Down 0-2 in the count, Torres received a hanging breaking ball and lined it into the left centerfield gap for a two RBI double. Wood added a sacrifice fly and Braeden Brown contributed with a RBI single.

Bryan Callaly was able to work into and out of trouble in both the sixth and seventh innings without issuing a run.

Still down two, with two outs and no one on base in the top of the 8th inning, Jason Matthews worked a pinch-hit walk. Zeb Adreon, coming off a double and single in his previous two at-bats, appeared to be locked in for this particular at-bat against Kirkwood's left-handed reliever. As the sun was setting in Cedar Rapids, Adreon unloaded on a 2-1 pitch that he sent sailing over the rightfielder's head for a two run homerun and tied the game 8-8.

Noel worked a scoreless 8th inning and play was suspended due to darkness until Saturday afternoon.

The Blackhawks returned focused as they resumed play the following afternoon. Marco Melgoza began the 9th inning with a leadoff single. Francisco Guerrero sacrificed Melgoza over to second base. Austin Martin checked in with a 2 strike single and Southeastern had runners on first and third with one out. Torres worked the count and put the ball in play on the ground which forced the eventual game winning run in from third.

The Eagles did not go quietly though as they worked a leadoff single and walk off of closer, Trace Hoffman. Hoffman, with one out and runners at first and second, induced a groundball to the right side. Matthews flashed excellent range as he fielded the ball, threw to shortstop, Oswaldo Calderon, who made an outstanding throw to first to complete the game ending double play.

Game three started the same as both games one and two did, with the Blackhawks scoring one in the first inning. Vargas hit a two out double and Calderon drove him in to take the early 1-0 lead.

Andrew Stout toed the rubber for Southeastern, pitching on short rest. Stout gave up a run in the second, third and fifth innings, which were more than enough for the Eagles in game three.

The Blackhawks threatened in the 3rd inning with runners on second and third with one out, but could not prevail to drive those runs home.

The final score of game three was 3-1 as Kirkwood starter went the distance for the complete game victory.

In game four, Southeastern took a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning behind some defensive errors by the Eagles. Melgoza, Oliver Baez, and Torres all scored in that inning.

Pedro Garcia was in cruising along through the first three innings. The 4th inning for Garcia was a different story. Garcia allowed the first five batters of that inning to reach base, three of which were walks issued by him. Garcia managed to finish the inning, but the damage was done as the Eagles took the lead 4-3.

The Eagles tacked on another three runs in the 5th inning, to run up the score 7-3.

Southeastern answered with a run of their own in the top of the 6th inning with a RBI single from Calderon, scoring Martin from his double earlier in the inning.

The Blackhawks ultimately dropped game four of the series 9-5.

Southeastern will play its final game of the regular season today as they play host to Carl Sandburg at 5PM.

This coming Thursday at 7PM, the Blackhawks, seeded number three in the ICCAC tournament, will play the winner of Ellsworth or Iowa Lakes. The tournament is hosted by Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo, Iowa.