EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Travis Felax tossed his second complete game of the season Friday to lead SIUE to a 7-1 win over Jacksonville State in the opener of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Simmons Baseball Complex.
"He had an outstanding night," SIUE Head Coach Gary Collins said of his starter.
Felax allowed one run on seven hits. He struck out six to improve to 6-4 this season. Felax had thrown more than 100 pitches through eight innings, but Collins said the decision was easier when SIUE extended its lead in the eighth inning.
"We had a cushion at that point," Collins said. "He deserved an opportunity to finish the game, and he did it in stellar fashion."
Brett Keeler opened the scoring in the bottom of the third, blasting his second home run of the year to the alley in left-center field to lead off the inning.
"You have to get all of it to get it out of this ballpark," Collins said of Keeler's home run.
Jacksonville State (22-26, 14-8 OVC) tied it with a run on two hits in the top of the fourth. Kyle Bluestein had the RBI on a single that scored Sam Eberle.
SIUE (25-25, 11-11 OVC) scored twice in the seventh inning to break the 1-1 tie. James Vazquez and Travis Becherer each added two-out RBI-singles in the inning. The Cougars then added four runs in the eighth, on six singles, for the final margin. Chase Green drove home two with a hard smash through the left side of the infield. Keeler and Vazquez each followed with their second RBIs of the night.
Vazquez led the way for SIUE. He finished the night 3 for 3 with the pair of RBIs. Keeler was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Green was 1 for 3 with two RBIs. Becherer was 1 for 4 with the RBI. Matt Highland and Joel Greatting each had two hits for the Cougars, who finished with 14 total hits.
Jacksonville State starter Aaron Elias (2-7) suffered the loss. Elias allowed three runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out four.
The win improves the Cougars home record to 15-11, assuring SIUE of a winning home season for the second year in a row. Collins admitted it was nice to win the opening game of the series, but it doesn't guarantee anything.
"We're still going to have to battle them and try to get some wins," he said.
The second game of the series is Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.