EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Southeast Missouri State broke a 4-4 tie with two runs in the seventh inning Saturday then went on to an 8-4 win over SIUE in the second game of an Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Simmons Complex.
After splitting the first two games in the series, SIUE and Southeast will play the rubber match of the three-game series at noon Sunday.
"I thought their (Southeast Missouri) bullpen pitched better than ours today," SIUE Interim Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "Four runs on a windy day in this park probably aren't enough."
Southeast Missouri, now 16-16 overall and 8-6 in the OVC, got out to a 3-0 lead with a pair of runs in the second inning and another in the fourth against Cougar starter P.J. Schuster. Schuster lasted four inning allowing the three runs on six hits and did not figure in the decision. He struck out five and walked three.
"I thought PJ competed," Stoecklin said. "He gave us a chance today."
SIUE, now 8-17 overall and 6-8 in the OVC, took the lead in the fourth inning. Skyler Geissinger led off the inning with his first career home run to make it 3-1. Drew Johnson and Ryan Mansfield followed with back-to-back hits. Johnson doubled and Mansfield singled. Johnson was advancing to third on the single, when a throwing error allowed him to score to make it 3-2.
"It was nice to see the middle of our lineup with some hits," Stoecklin added.
The Redhawks scored a run in the sixth inning to tie the score before scoring twice in the seventh to take a 6-4 lead. All three runs came against reliever Jake Stauffenberg. He pitched three innings and allowed four hits. He struck out one and walked two. Drew Staples and Brooks McDowell each allowed a run in relief and it was 8-4 Redhawks.
SIUE put two runners on with two outs in the ninth before SEMO closer Bobby Hurst was able to shut the door. Mansfield and pinch-hitting Matt Highland had back-to-back hits. Vzquez then worked a long at-bat before being called out on strikes.
"It was good to see Matt Highland come off the bench and come up with a big hit," Stoecklin said. "James Vazquez is having some big at-bats lately.
"They're (SIUE) showing some fight," Stoecklin continued. "And that's good."
Johnson, Mansfield, and Vazquez each had two hits for the Cougars, who managed 11 as a team. Greatting was 1 for 2 with the pair of RBIs. Geissinger was 1 for 5 with the homer.
Luke Shearrow (2-2) earned the win in relief for Southeast Missouri. He tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. He gave up two hits and struck out three.
Derek Gibson and Clayton Evans each had three hits to lead SEMO at the plate. Gibson, Evans and Cole Bieser each had two RBIs in the win.
Stoecklin said his team understands what's at stake Sunday.
"We have a chance to come out tomorrow and take two out of three and win the series."