Cougars Win Pitchers’ Duel for First OVC Win
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE baseball won its first official Ohio Valley Conference game Friday, defeating Eastern Illinois 2-1 in the opener of a three-game game series at Simmons Baseball Complex.
The Cougars improved to 11-10 overall and 1-0 with the win. Eastern Illinois dropped to 7-12 and 0-1.
"It's always good to start off with a win," SIUE Head Coach Gary Collins said.
SIUE starter Travis Felax and EIU starter Mike Hoekstra went toe-to-toe. In the end both pitchers surrendered a run and neither was credited with a decision.
SIUE scored the game's first run in the seventh inning. Brett Keeler led off the inning with a single to right. Chase Green sacrificed Keeler to second base, where he was replaced with pinch runner Nick Lombardo. James Vazquez reached on an error, allowing Lombardo to advance to third. Travis Becherer then dropped a shallow single inside the left field line scoring Lombardo from third to make it 1-0.
The Panthers answered in the top of the eighth against Felax. Tyler Schweigert and Ryan Dineen reached on back-to-back one-out singles leaving runners at first and third. Felax exited the game in favor of Dustin Quattrocchi. Jacob Reese then laid down a bunt to score Schweigert with the game-tying run.
Felax tossed 7 1/3 innings allowing the run on six hits. He walked one and struck out a career-high nine hitters. Hoekstra pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing the run, unearned, on seven hits. He struck out four.
The Cougars pushed the winning run across in the bottom of the eighth without a hit against a pair of relievers. SIUE loaded the bases thanks with one out thanks to two walks and a hit batter. James Vazquez drove in Zach Hawkins with a ground out to short. Darin Worman (0-3) took the loss for EIU.
"Both Travis and Dustin were really good and so was Mike (Hoekstra)," Collins said. "There was a lot of good pitching tonight."
Quattrocchi (2-0) earned the win with 1 2/3 innings of perfect relief. He struck out one.
"We had to work really hard for those two runs," Collins added. "They did not give us very much, and we took some bad at bats when we could have scored some more. You have to credit their pitching."
The two teams combined for just 13 hits. SIUE finished with seven hits. Becherer led the way. He was 2 for 5 with the RBI. Keeler was 2 for 3.
Dineen and Caleb Howell each had two hits for EIU.
The two teams continue the series with a 1 p.m. game Saturday afternoon.