May 1, 2011
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. - SIUE baseball withstood a three-run ninth inning by Jacksonville State Sunday and held on for an 8-5 win in the finale of a three-game series at Rudy Abbott Field.
The Cougars improved to 19-22 with the victory, after Jacksonville State had won the first two games of the series Saturday.
"We had some big hits today," SIUE Head Coach Gary Collins said. "If you're only going to win one it's nice to win the last game of the series."
The Gamecocks, 27-15, scored twice in the second inning to take a 2-0 lead against Cougars' starter Spencer Patton.
"Patton was solid," Collins said. "He had one rough inning in the second. He gave up a few hits, but after that he was Spencer."
Patton, 6-3, settled in to toss seven innings for the win. He allowed just two runs on five hits and struck out 11.
SIUE scored four times thanks to four hits in the fourth inning and never trailed again. Joel Greatting, Brett Keeler, Thad Hawkins and Chase Green each had RBIs in the inning. The Cougars made it 6-2 with two more runs in the fifth inning. Zach Hawkins added an RBI in the inning, before SIUE added a run on a throwing error. Zach Hawkins then drove home two more runs with a single in the seventh to extend the lead to 8-2.
"Zach and Brett were the story," Collins said. "Brett had a couple of big hits. Zach's been good all year."
Jacksonville State managed three runs on four hits in the ninth inning against Cougar relievers Dustin Quattrocchi and Thad Hawkins. Quattrocchi, who started the ninth, allowed a run on a hit in an inning of relief. He struck out one. Thad Hawkins allowed two runs on three hits. He struck out two.
Erik Underwood led the way for the Gamecocks. Underwood was 3 for 4 with two runs scored.
Collins said he is encouraged by the Cougars play against the Ohio Valley Conference leaders.
"They'll (Jacksonville State) be at the top of the league," Collins said. "This proves we can play with them."
The Cougars take the week off for finals. SIUE will return to action Friday night when they travel to Birmingham, Ala. for the first of a three-game series at Samford.