NACOGDOCHES, Texas -- Noah Vaughan belted a two-run home run and Quintin Rohrbaugh collected a two-hit game but Southeast Missouri State used a three-run fifth inning to post a 4-3 win over UTA, on opening day at Stephen F. Austin's Jaycess Field.
UTA (0-1) opened the scoring in the fourth behind Vaughan's two-run jack but the defending Ohio Valley Conference Champion Red Hawks plated a run in the bottom of the frame, before scoring the game-winning runs in the three-run fifth. The Mavs rallied with a run in the eighth and got the tying run on base in the ninth but couldn't get a key run-scoring hit.
A 39-win team in 2016, SEMO (1-0) used a two-out, two-run triple in the fifth inning from catcher Brian Lees for the difference. The Redhawks advanced to the 2016 NCAA Tournament and return the nation's leader in slugging percentage, preseason All-American Chris Osborne, who was 2-for-4 in the opener.
LEADING THE MAVS
UTA got two-hit games from Rohrbaugh, sophomore shortstop Josh Minjarez and sophomore catcher Will Olson. Phil Berthiaume and Omar Salinas each had hits in their UTA debut, with Colton Turner and RJ Williams each adding a knock.
ON THE MOUND
Senior righty Kadon Simmons (0-1) made his 16th career start and his first opening-day start. Simmons worked 5.1 innings, scattering 10 hits and one walk, allowing four runs and striking out five. He was relieved by Jake Wilcox, who escaped a sixth-inning jam with a double play. Wilcox worked 1.1 perfect innings in relief, before sophomore Dylan Schneider took over on the mound. Schneider worked 1.1 shutout innings of his own to keep UTA in the game.
SEMO senior starter Clay Chandler (0-0) worked 5.1 innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, striking out two. The Redhawks used Jared Waldhoff, Carlos Vega and Matthew Wade in relief. Wade earned the save with the final 1.2 innings.
HOW THEY SCORED
SEMO threated to open the scoring in the bottom of the third, with Danny Wright reaching on a one-out throwing error charged to second baseman Quintin Rohrbaugh, who made a great play in the hole to reach the ball. SEMO then executed a hit-and-run with Trevor Ezell to put a pair of runners on the corners with one out for Dan Holst. After falling behind 2-0, Simmons worked the count full before getting Holst to swing and miss on a breaking ball for the second out and escaped the jam to keep the game scoreless.
Vaughan got the scoring started with a one-out, two-run homer in the top of the fourth. His third career homer – sent out to centerfield – scored Will Olson, who singled to get the Mavs in the hit column.
The Redhawks immediately answered in the bottom of the fourth as Chris Osborne – the 2016 NCAA leader in slugging percentage – led off with a double and scored on a two-out, two-strike hit from Chris Caffrey.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, SEMO took a 4-2 lead, loading the bases with no outs, before getting a sacrifice fly from Kylar Robertson and a two-out, two-run triple from Brian Lees.
The Mavs rallied in the eighth inning, getting hits from Olson and RJ Williams, and a walk from Colton Turner to load the bases with one out. Josh Minjarez dropped a single into leftfield to score Olson, but an inning-ending double play allowed the Redhawks to escape with a 4-3 lead.
UTA returns to action on Saturday, opening a doubleheader vs. SFA at 11 a.m., before concluding the day at 2:30 p.m. at Jaycess field vs. SEMO. The SEMO game will be available on the SEMO Radio Network and the SFA tilt is set for a Facebook live broadcast.