EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE right-hander Travis Felax tossed his fourth complete game of the season Friday night, but it came in a losing effort. Eastern Kentucky scored four unearned runs in the ninth inning to earn a 5-2 come-from-behind win in the opener of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Simmons Complex.
Felax (3-5) threw a season-high 136 pitches, tied his career high with 10 strikeouts, and allowed just a single earned run.
"The guy on the mound was the one I wanted to win or lose a ballgame for us," SIUE Interim Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "Travis' stuff was fine tonight."
Eastern Kentucky, now 12-23 overall and 8-8 in the OVC, trailed 2-1 going into the final frame. Centerfielder Austin Grisham hit a bounding ball to short which was misplayed to start the inning. Doug Teegarden and Sean Hagen followed with singles which scored Grisham with the tying run.
With one out in the inning, Kyle Nowlin was intentionally passed to load the bases before Bryan Solomon grounded out to second to drive in the go-ahead run. Kenny Hostrander followed with a two-run single to left to make it 5-2.
Hostrander finished the night 2 for 4 with the pair of RBIs. Nowlin was 2 for 3 with an RBI.
The Cougars (9-23, 6-13) trailed 1-0 before scoring a pair of unearned runs in the sixth inning. Skyler Geissinger picked up an RBI on a groundout and Drew Johnson singled to drive home a run. Both runs came against EKU starter Brent Cobb. Cobb improved tossed eight innings to improve to 4-5. He struck out five and allowed just five hits.
"I don't think we took very good at-bats," Stoecklin said. "We swung at a lot of balls."
Friday marked the third time this season that Felax has thrown a complete game, only to suffer the loss.
"It'd be nice to score more runs for him on Friday night," Stoecklin said. "We haven't done it much at all this year. He's thrown great almost every outing and we have given him very little support."
The Cougars and the Colonels will continue the series with a 1 p.m. game Saturday at Simmons Baseball Complex. Stoecklin admitted that Friday's loss made things difficult for the Cougars.
"You lose the first game and your back is up against the wall," he said. "It's hard to win a series when you lose the first game."