May 9, 2010
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Dustin Brooks capped off his best offensive game of the season Sunday with an infield single that drove home the winning run in the nightcap as Southern Illinois University Edwardsville swept a doubleheader from Bradley.
The Cougars, who snapped an 11-game losing streak, won game one 8-5 and took the nightcap 3-2 on Senior Day at SimmonsCooper Complex. SIUE improved to 14-33 while Bradley dropped to 17-27.
SIUE Head Coach Gary Collins went with a senior lineup in the nightcap. Eight of nine starters plus starting pitcher Luke Vine were seniors. All were honored between games. The senior approach resulted in a second win on the day for SIUE - in exciting fashion.
"I couldn't have scripted it better," said Collins.
SIUE, which outhit the Braves 10-4, opened game two with four straight singles off the bats of Ryan Wiggs, Christian Rohlfing, Brooks and Adam Eggemeyer to go up 1-0 in the first inning. SIUE added a single tally in the third as Brooks launched his fifth home run of the season.
Bradley didn't score until the fifth off Vine, who finished with six strikeouts and no decision.
Down 2-1, Bradley tied the game in the top of the seventh. Vine started the inning and gave up a hit and a walk. With one out, he was replaced by senior Brent Rynearson, who threw a wild pitch that advanced Bradley's runners to second and third. Rynearson then intentionally walked Matt Fritz to load the bases.
Mitchell Fairley was called from the bullpen with the bases loaded. Pinch-hitter Phil Kaiser drew a walk from Fairley to tie the game.
Fairley got Bradley's Brian Martin to fly out to Eggemeyer in center field. With Jason Leblebijian trying to tag up and score on the fly ball, Eggemeyer sent a strike home to catcher Brett Lancaster, who applied the sweeping tag in quick fashion to complete the double play and send the game to the bottom of the seventh tied.
"Fairley pitched well today, and he was really bailed out by that throw from Eggemeyer," said Collins.
Matt Highland was brought in to pinch hit for Zach Hawkins, the lone non-senior starter. He drew a walk off Bradley reliever Brad Altbach. Wiggs placed a perfect bunt that moved Highland to second. Rohlfing moved the runner one more base on an infield out.
Brooks then came to the plate looking for his fourth hit of the game. After fouling off five pitches, Brooks hit a short chopper to Bradley third baseman Rob Elliott and narrowly beat the throw as Highland crossed the plate for the game-winner.
Collins said when he felt like Brooks had a good opportunity for another hit because of the way he was battling in the batter's box. "I knew he had a good chance because their third baseman was playing back, and he had just gotten into the game."
Fairley, who won game two, also collected his first save of the season in game one.
Josh Hoguet pitched a strong 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts. The Braves were down by six runs in the seventh inning but tallied three before Fairley came in to strike out Kevin Sullivan for the final out.
"I thought we had good pitching all day," said Collins.
SIUE's offense took advantage of four Bradley errors in game one. The Cougars had just seven hits the first game.
Travis Becherer was able to take his first free trip around the bases in the second inning. The Cougar freshman ripped a home run to right field to put SIUE up 3-0.
SIUE collected four runs in the fourth inning. Becherer added his second RBI of the game in the inning. SIUE also took advantage of two Bradley miscues in the inning to take a 7-0 lead.
Hoguet collected the win and improved to 3-1.
SIUE now has a day off before entertaining Indiana State for a single game Tuesday. First pitch at SimmonsCooper Complex is 6 p.m. The game can be heard on WSIE FM 88.7.