EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE used a four-run fifth inning to defeat Jacksonville State 6-4 Saturday in the second game of an Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Simmons Complex. The Cougars have won the first two and will play for the sweep of the three-game series Sunday.
"The big inning is going to kill any team," SIUE Head Coach Gary Collins said following the game.
Jacksonville State (22-27, 14-9 OVC) took a 1-0 lead in the third with a run on two hits against SIUE starter Brooks McDowell.
The Cougars (26-25, 12-11 OVC) tied the game with an RBI hit from James Vazquez in the fourth inning. Chase Green and Vazquez each had two-run hits in the fifth as the Cougars took a 5-1 lead. Three of the runs came against starter Daniel Watts (4-6), who took the loss for Jacksonville State.
The Gamecocks' Kyle Bluestein chased McDowell with a leadoff home run in the sixth inning to cut the lead to 5-2. McDowell worked five innings, allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out two and improved to 3-4 with the win.
"Any pitcher that gives you five innings and one or two runs - that's a good thing," Collins said.
Jacksonville State would add two more runs in the inning charged to reliever Tony Schaeffer. Cal Lambert hit a pinch-hit two-run triple to cut the lead to 5-4.
Joel Greatting pushed the Cougar lead to 6-4 with a homer to start the seventh inning.
"That home run was big to give us a cushion at the end," Collins added.
Dustin Quattrocchi earned the save for the Cougars with two innings of scoreless relief. Quattrocchi allowed a pair of two-out hits in the ninth before getting Bluestein to bounce into a fielder's choice to end the game. The save was the 11th of the year for Quattrocchi, which is tied for the lead in the OVC.
Vazquez led SIUE at the plate, for the second game in a row. He was 2 for 2 with two walks and three RBIs. For the series Vazquez is 5 for 5 with three walks and five RBIs.
"He has struggled the whole year," Collins said of Vazquez. "The last couple of weeks he has really started to hit well."
Green was 1 for 3 with the pair of RBIs. Greatting was 1 for 2 with the homer. Matt Highland was 2 for 4.
The finale of the series is Sunday, which also is SIUE's senior day. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. The Cougars will honor six seniors in a pregame ceremony.