EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE baseball swept a doubleheader from UT Martin Saturday, winning 10-1 and 5-3 at Simmons Baseball Complex.
The wins mark the first OVC series win for the Cougars since March 8-9 when they swept Eastern Illinois in Edwardsville. SIUE improved to 12-29 overall and 9-17 in the OVC. UT Martin fell to 10-32, 3-20.
"It was a great day," SIUE Interim Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "Our pitchers are what enabled us to have the chance to win both games."
A trio of freshmen shut down the Skyhawks in the opener Saturday. Caleb Wilkerson, P.J. Schuster, and Zach Malach combined to allow just five hits and strike out 10 UT Martin hitters. Wilkerson (1-4) started and earned his first win as a Cougar. The freshman tossed six innings allowing a run on five hits. He struck out five.
"Caleb came out and set the tone early with command of the strike zone," Stoecklin said. "He attacked hitters and threw strikes."
Schuster followed with two perfect innings in relief. He struck out four. Malach tossed a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout.
The Cougars scored a run in the first inning and never trailed. SIUE added two runs in the second, four more in the third inning, and three in the sixth.
"The person who stood out the first game to me was Nick Lombardo," Stoecklin said of the sophomore. He's been putting in a lot of work before and after practice. He swung the bat well and came up with a couple of clutch hits today."
Dan Tobik (1-6) allowed all 10 runs in the opener to suffer the loss for the Skyhawks. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, walked six, and struck out five.
Sonny Mastromatteo was 2 for 4 and was the only UT Martin player with more than a hit.
Sam Hopkins and Jake Stauffenberg (3-3) combined to allow three runs on four hits in the second game. Hopkins allowed two runs on two hits over the first four innings. He struck out two. Stoecklin revealed that Hopkins was pitching despite battling strep throat.
"Sam just ran out of gas there in the 5th inning," Stoecklin said. "He still wanted to start today. He felt like he was strong enough to do it. I'm really proud of Sam for going out there and competing when he's not at his best and giving us a chance to win."
Stauffenberg pitched the final five innings allowing a single unearned run. He struck out a career-high six UT Martin hitters. Stauffenberg has compiled 15 innings over his last three outings and sports a 1.80 ERA and 11 strikeouts.
"Jacob has been great. He's on a good little run," Stoecklin said. "He's really pitched well for about the last month really."
SIUE scored all five runs in the fourth inning in game two. James Vazquez and Joel Greatting each picked up two run-hits in the inning. Travis Becherer added an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Vazquez finished the game 3 for 4. Greatting was 1 for 4. Johnson, Lombardo and Matt Highland each had two hits in the game for the Cougars, who finished with 13 hits in game two, and 24 combined for the day.
"We did well today on offense," Stoecklin added. "Everyone contributed up and down the lineup."
UT Martin starter Taylor Cox (0-5) suffered the game two loss. He allowed five runs on 13 hits. Grant Glasser was 1 for 5 with the only RBI for the Skyhawks.
The series finale takes place Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. SIUE will honor nine seniors before the game.
When the guys left today I told them not to be content with winning two," Stoecklin said. "I want them to come to the park with expectations of sweeping the series."