SEMO baseball blanks Western Illinois, will go for series sweep on Sunday


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – An off-season shoulder issue for SEMO right-handed hurler Payton Lawrence kept him out of the starting rotation to begin the year, but head coach Andy Sawyers said it was a necessary decision to move Lawrence from the bullpen to the rotation before conference play. 

“We just kind of said, you know what, he’s been one of our best guys. We need to start him, so we made the decision that he has to pitch on the weekend the last weekend of non-conference to get him ready for conference, and so, obviously, today was that day, and we’re sure glad he did,” he said.

Lawrence tossed 8 1/3 innings in the Redhawks 4-0 victory over Western Illinois on Saturday, surrendered just four hits and struck out seven. 

Lawrence said it was a pleasant feeling to find his groove on the hill. 

“I’ve had a couple bad [outings] this year, a couple mediocre ones. It felt good to actually get in a rhythm, get in a rhythm late, too. Just had a fun time out there, for sure,” he said.

With temperatures in the 30s and the wind blowing in, home runs were hard to come by. SEMO was able to scratch across two runs each in the 3rd and 7th innings without an extra-base hit. 

“It was a tough day to hit, I mean, not just flyballs not being able to go anywhere but it’s tough to hit with the wind in your face, like psychologically it does something to a hitter when you have a stiff breeze and it’s 34 degrees and 28-degree wind chill, it’s hard to hit on days like that, so we were prepared to execute for offense,” Sawyers said.

As for Lawrence, it could be 30 degrees or 100 degrees for all he cares. 

“Doesn’t matter, warm, cold, whatever, come and get it.” 

The Redhawks will go for the series sweep of the Leathernecks on Sunday at 1 pm.

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