February 21, 2014

Cougars Collect First Win in 12 Innings

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Nick Lombardo came in to score on a wild pitch in the top of the 12th inning giving SIUE baseball its first win of the season, 4-3 over New Mexico State in the first game of a four-game series.

The Cougars improved to 1-3 with the win, while New Mexico State dropped to 3-2.

Lombardo began the 12th inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Chase Green. Skyler Geissinger grounded out to short, moving Lombardo to third.

New Mexico State reliever Zach Freeman suffered the loss. He allowed only the run over six relief innings. He walked one and struck out five.

Ryan Daniels turned in a dominating performance in his second start of the year. The right hander struck out a career-best eight hitters over five shutout innings. He allowed just a single hit and walked one.

"He was overpowering," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "It was as impressive of five innings as I've seen in a while. He's been impressive so far."

The Cougars took the lead in the top of the third inning against New Mexico State starter Christopher Bradley.

Jacob Stewart walked to start the inning and Brian Sipe followed with a single up the middle. Lombardo walked with one out to load the bases. Green then drew a walk bringing Stewart in for the first run of the game. Geissinger drove a single to left field bringing home Sipe and Lombardo to make it 3-0.

Bradley lasted six innings and allowing the three runs on five hits.

Geissinger finished the game 1 for 6 with the pair of RBIs. Green and Alec Saikal each had two hits for the SIUE, which finished with 10 hits as a team.

"We took good enough at-bats to win and that's what counts," Stoecklin said. "I still think we can take better at-bats. Overall we're still a work in progress.

The Aggies scored their first two runs of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning against SIUE reliever J.D. Williams. Kent Blackstone drove home the first run with a one out double. Blackstone later scored on a fielder's choice.  Mike Miller relieved Williams, finishing the sixth and pitching a scoreless seventh.

"Mike Miller did a nice job," Stoecklin said. "He got us out of a jam and kept us ahead in the game."

New Mexico State tied the game in the eighth inning against P.J. Schuster thanks to an RBI single by Michael Paulson. Schuster settled in to throw three innings striking out three. Brett Thomas tossed two scoreless innings to earn his first win as a Cougar.

"P.J. did a good job and Brett Thomas did a good job shutting the door," Stoecklin said.

Paulson was the only Aggie player to collect more than a single hit. He was 2 for 6 with the RBI. NMSU managed only seven hits as a team.

The two teams continue the series with a doubleheader Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. central time.