A controversial call in the top of the ninth inning snapped a scoreless tie and opened the door for No. 17 Southern Arkansas to steal the series finale from Southeastern on Saturday afternoon with the Savage Storm coming out on the wrong end of the 2-0 score.
SE falls to 17-13 overall and 10-8 in Great American Conference play. The loss also means the Storm drop the conference series two games to one snapping a streak of three-straight GAC series victories.
In a contest that was the definition of a pitcher's duel, Tevlin Darden came to the plate with a runner on second and one out when he pulled a ball down the left field line that appeared to fall just foul, but after initially raising his hands to make the foul call, the umpire changed his motion to fair and Ryan Dardenne scored from second to break a scoreless tie.
The Muleriders would add a second run on a passed ball coupled with a throwing error that allowed Darden to score and SAU to take a 2-0 lead.
Vance Woodruff would finally get out of trouble with no other runs, but SE would go in order in the bottom of the ninth on fly ball outs to bring the game to an end.
Woodruff was saddled with the loss in his fourth complete game of the year and his record moved to 2-6 on the season despite seeing his ERA dip to 2.30.
He allowed two runs, one of which was earned, on five hits and struck out 10 opposing hitters, hitting the double-digit K mark for the second time this season.
The Storm held a 6-to-5 edge in hits in the contest, but did leave five runners stranded, four of which were in scoring position.
Three players accounted for SE's six hits, with Ryan Salter, Aaron Chalk and Mark Frank each collecting two-hit outings.
Southeastern got a hit in each of the first three innings but could not build upon them and was held off the board.
SAU loaded the bases with nobody out in the second inning, but Woodruff would coax the eight-hole hitter Ryan Bell into a lineout to Trevor Bowen at second and follow up by striking out William Townsend and Jason Dahl to keep the game knotted at 0-0.
The Muleriders would get just two other runners in scoring position before the ninth inning, with Woodruff getting Bell to groundout to end the fourth and striking out Dahl for the second time on the day.
SE's best scoring threat came in the eighth inning as Frank singled through the left side with two outs and moved to second on a Salter infield hit to the third baseman.
However, a sharp grounder by Evan Ramsey to third base would end the inning when he stepped on the bag to get Frank for the final out of the inning.
Southeastern will be back in action April 5-6 when it travels to Monticello, Ark., to face Arkansas-Monticello in a three-game conference series.