Florida State baseball will head to Mississippi for the Oxford Regional to start their NCAA Tournament run this weekend. The Seminoles are the three-seed and will play two-seed Southern Miss on Friday afternoon. After their game, one-seed Ole Miss will take on four-seed Southeast Missouri. The Redhawks highlight part one of our regional preview.
Southeast Missouri earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament by taking home the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title. The Redhawks were also regular-season champions for the fifth time after going 17-10 in conference play. Overall, SEMO had a 30-20 record. The Hawks are 17-12 away from home. This will be the Redhawks’ fourth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2016. Southeast Missouri has never advanced to a Super Regional.
Head coach Andy Sawyers will be making his first NCAAT appearance as a head coach. Sawyers is in his fifth season at the helm for the RedHawks. The former Hutchinson Community College head coach is 118-116 in his time at Southeast Missouri.
The Redhawks have been one of the hotter teams in the country entering postseason play. They have won 19 of their last 26 games after a 3-1 week at the OVC Tournament. The Hawks haven’t lost back-to-back games since March. In conference play, they won eight of nine series.
In games decided by one or two runs, the Redhawks were 12-4. When holding opponents to five or fewer runs, they are 25-2. When scoring 6+ runs, they are 23-3. The home run ball is key for Southeast Missouri. When they hit at least one homer, they’re 19-6. When they don’t allow any homers, they’re 17-6.
Southeast Missouri will start their tournament run at 8:00 PM on Friday against one-seed Ole Miss. Here is a look at the key contributors for the Redhawks:
At the plate, the Redhawks are hitting .272 with a .362 on-base percentage and .397 slugging percentage. The OVC champs don’t possess much power. As a team, they have 37 home runs and just one player has more than six. They produce runs by putting the ball in play at a high rate and running the bases well. As a team, SEMO strikes out less than eight times per game. Three Redhawks have 9+ stolen bases and have combined for 37 of the team’s 58 SB’s.
Tyler Wilber is the leader for the Redhawks at the plate. Wilber leads the team with a .389 average, 49 RBI, 75 hits, and .560 SLG%. Wilber’s .389 average is 35th best in the country. He is also top-50 in the nation with 1.5 hits per game. The junior has produced 11 doubles, two triples, and six homers. The middle infielder has 23 multi-hit games this season. Wilber was named as one of 30 semifinalists for the Brooks Wallace Award, which recognizes the nation’s top shortstop.
Jevon Mason has been a late-season breakout player. Mason is riding an eight-game hitting streak into Oxford. He is second on the team with 18 multi-hit games. Despite starting just 38 games, Mason is third on the team with 56 hits. He’s second on the team with a .371 average and leads the team with a .470 OBP. Mason leads the Redhawks with 14 doubles and has also slugged two homers for a .503 SLG%. Mason, who is tied for the team lead in runs, will likely be Southeast Missouri’s leadoff man.
Andrew Keck, like Wilber, has started every game so far this season. Keck creates pressure on the base paths, as he leads the team with 17 stolen bases. The outfielder is third on the team with a .299 average and is tied with Mason for the team-lead in runs scored. Connor Basler also creates havoc on the bases. Basler has just nine this season, but is three stolen bases away from setting the career record at Southeast Missouri. Basler has made over 220 starts as a Redhawk.
Wade Stauss is the main power producer for the Redhawks. Stauss leads the team with 14 home runs. He is also second on the team with 36 RBI and a .543 SLG%. Stauss possesses a lot of pop in the bat, with .31 HR/G, but strikes out 1.44 times per game.
In the field, the Redhawks have a .973 fielding percentage. Wilber leads the way at shortstop with a .958 fielding percentage and just nine errors in 50 games. Stauss has thrown out just six of 34 would-be base stealers as the primary catcher.
On the mound, the Redhawks have a team ERA of 5.11 and allow a .270 average against. Southeast Missouri has produced two shutouts this season. They strikeout 8.9 batters per nine and have a 3.5 BB/9. Seven Redhawks have thrown at least 20 innings this season and just three of them have an ERA under 4.50.
Dylan Dodd is the Redhawks’ ace and can stack up with nearly every Friday starter in the country. Dodd is a 6’3 left-handed pitcher. The southpaw will give the Redhawks a real chance to upset the Rebels. In Dodd’s 14 starts, Southeast Missouri is 12-2. One of those losses was an extra innings loss to #1 Arkansas. Dodd held the Razorbacks to 3 hits and 2 runs while striking out 10 over 6 innings. The senior has a record of 9-1 and 2.78 ERA. He’s gone 6+ innings in 12 starts and averages 6.1 IP per start. The LHP allows 7.4 H/9 and just 1.4 BB/9. He’s struck out 113 batters and walked just 14 hitters. He attacks hitters with a low 90’s fastball, a wipeout slider, and an effective changeup.
Dylan Dodd gets out of a bases loaded jam in the 6th inning against the #2 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks— Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL) February 25, 2021
It's his 10th K of the day pic.twitter.com/iwv1NkF3kc
Bryce Grossius will be the Redhawks’ number two starter. Grossius has a 5.71 ERA over 52.0 IP. Grossius has walked just thirteen batters and struck out 57, but has allowed 64 hits and .312 average against. He has a record of 4-2. The Redhawks have struggled to find a third starter this season. Noah Niznik has started 11 games but has a 7.69 ERA and .330 BAA. Niznik is 2-6 and has allowed 74 hits and 28 walks over 55 IP. Hunter Ralls has made some Sunday starts recently. He has a 5.45 ERA over 38 IP and five starts. Collin Wilma has just 27.2 IP on the season, but has an ERA of 2.93. Wilma has allowed an opponents average of .220.
The Redhawks have a pair of closers in the back end of their bullpen. Austin Williams is first on the team with six saves. Williams has thrown 38 innings and has a 4.74 EA. He’s walked just 11 batters, but has surrendered 43 hits and .274 average against. Kyle Miller is second on the team with five saves. Miller started the last game of the OVC Tournament and tossed a complete game, allowing just two hits and one run. He may be another option to start, but could also be the Redhawks’ first arm out of the pen. On the season, he has a 3.26 ERA over 49.2 IP. He’s minimized damage by allowing just two homers this season.