EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Travis Felax pitched seven strong innings to lead SIUE past IPFW in the home opener for the Cougars. SIUE and IPFW split a baseball doubleheader Sunday, salvaging two games from what was originally scheduled to be a four-game series.
The Cougars took game one 2-1, before falling in the second game 7-6 in 11 innings. SIUE moved to 2-7 with the split while IPFW is now 3-6.
Felax improved to 1-1 with his longest outing of the year so far. The right-hander struck out seven hitters while allowing just a run on four hits over the seven innings. He did not walk a hitter.
"He did a really nice job today," SIUE Interim Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "He basically won that game for us today."
Jake Stauffenberg and Tony Schaeffer followed Felax in the game, and combined for three scoreless innings in relief. Stauffenberg retired the only two batters he faced to start the eighth inning before turning things over to Schaeffer. Allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings. He struck out one to earn his second save of the year.
"Jacob did a nice job in his role today," Stoecklin added. "And Tony did his job in shutting the door."
The only runs SIUE scored came as a result of a pair of wild pitches. Jake Michalak walked to leadoff the third inning. He went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sklyer Geissinger. Michalak then went to third on a wild pitch by IPFW reliever Danny Tursell. He scored on a second wild pitch to make it 1-0 Cougars.
IPFW's only run came on a solo home run by second baseman Markus Kalber leading off the sixth inning.
SIUE built a 3-0 lead through two innings in game two. Matt Highland and Greatting each had RBI hits in the first inning to put the Cougars up 2-0. Freshman Zach Little added his first RBI as a Cougar in the second inning when his sacrifice fly scored Michalak to make it 3-0. It was 3-1 SIUE when Ryan Mansfield singled to drive home Greatting in the third inning.
IPFW scored three times in the fourth inning to tie the score 4-4 after four innings. The Mastodons added single runs in the fifth and seventh innings to go up 6-4.
Tyler Shepherd led IPFW at the plate in the second game. He was 2-3 with a pair of RBIs.
The Cougars evened the score in the eighth inning. Travis Becherer bunted his way on with one out and then advanced to second on an errant throw by pitcher Connor Lawhead. James Vazquez followed with an RBI-single to left center to make it 6-5. Vazquez stole second and advanced to third on a flyout. He scored on a wild pitch by Lawhead to make it 6-6.
The Mastodons scored the game winner in the top of the 11th. Shane Trevion singled and Kristian Gayday doubled off SIUE reliever P.J. Schuster. Clay Hathaway hit a one-out sacrifice fly to right to put IPF ahead.
The Cougars made things interesting in the bottom of the inning. Mansfield drew a walk with two outs which brought up pinch hitter Matt Seevers. Seevers hammered the second pitch he saw from reliever Steve Daniealk to the right field where Shepherd made the catch with one hand on the right field fence.
"If it's a typical late winter or early spring day that's probably out of here," Stoecklin said of the still afternoon. "But it isn't and it wasn't."
Danielak earned the win for IPFW to improve to 2-1. Schuster took the loss and dropped to 0-3.
Highland was 2 for 5 with the RBI in game two. Mansfield also was 2 for 5. The Cougars managed 10 hits in the second game, but Stoecklin said there is still room for improvement.
"We need to focus on continuing to better at the plate," he said. "We should do a better job of defending our home field."
The Cougars play host to Illinois State Tuesday in a scheduled 3 p.m. start.