Panthers Take Second Game of Series
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Eastern Illinois scored three times in the second inning Saturday and held on to defeat SIUE 6-3 in the second game of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Simmons Baseball Complex.
"We did not deserve to win," SIUE Head Coach Gary Collins said. "You cannot put 10 men on base and win, that's just difficult. We have been shooting ourselves in the foot way too often this year."
SIUE (11-11, 1-1 OVC) took an early lead against EIU starter Christian Slazinik. James Vazquez walked to lead off the game for the Cougars and then went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Travis Becherer. Mitch Matecki followed with an RBI-single to left to make it 1-0 SIUE. The Cougars loaded the bases but settled for just the single run.
"We had a couple chances early to break out, and we just didn't get the key hit," Collins added.
EIU (8-12, 1-1) answered in the second inning. Brant Valach's two-out, two-run double against Cougar starter Josh Hoguet capped a three-run inning to put the Panthers 3-1. They never trailed again in the game. EIU added a run in the top of the third to go up 4-1. Caleb Howell singled to drive home Ryan Dineen, who singled to start the inning.
The Cougars added two runs in the third inning to cut the lead to 4-3. Becherer was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Matecki followed with a double to put runners at first and third with nobody out. With one out, Devin Caldwell hit a ball which was misplayed by EIU second baseman Tyler Schweigert allowing both Becherer and Matecki to score. Nick Lombado grounded into a double play to end the inning, stranding a runner.
The Panthers scored single runs in the sixth and the ninth innings for the final margin.
Hoguet (1-4) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on four hits. He struck out two. Slazinik (4-2) settled in to pitch six innings for the win. He allowed all three runs on four hits. He struck out one.
Matecki led the Cougars at the plate, finishing 2 for 4 with the RBI. Zach Hawkins and Nick Lombardo had the only other hits for the Cougars.
Howell and Nathan Sopena each had two hits for the Panthers. Howell finished with two RBIs. Valach was 1 for 4 with three RBIs.
SIUE and EIU conclude the three-game series with a 1 p.m. game Sunday. Collins said there wasn't much he had to say to his team following Saturday's loss.
"I just challenged them to get better," he said. "If we don't get better we will continue to play like we have been playing."