MURRAY, Ky. – Chase Green hit a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, and Ryan Daniels tossed eight innings for the Cougars as SIUE defeated Murray State 6-2 in the first game of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Reagan Field.
SIUE improved to 5-2 in the OVC and 7-12 overall. Murray State dropped to 4-3 overall and 9-10 overall.
"We played well all the way around today," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "We competed and we came out ready to play. We just need to maintain that throughout the weekend."
Daniels improved to 3-0 with eight strong innings. He allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits. He struck out six. Brett Thomas tossed a perfect ninth inning in relief to seal the victory.
"Ryan looked great," Stoecklin said. "He had good command and had all three pitches working."
Green got the Cougars on the board in the third inning. Austin Verschoore doubled with one out, Nick Lombardo reached on an error, and Keaton Wright walked before Green connected for his first career grand slam. The homer, the first of the year for Green, came against Murray State starter Cameron Finch.
"I just try to keep my same approach," Green said. "I came up with the bases loaded and just tried not to do too much."
"That at-bat with the bases loaded was fantastic," SIUE Hitting Coach Danny Jackson said. "He could have chased a couple of pitches, but he waited for the mistake."
It was 4-1 SIUE in the fifth when Green led off the inning with a home run, also against Finch. "He left the fastball over the plate and I put a good swing on hit and hit it well," Green said.
Skyler Geissinger added an RBI-double in the inning to make it 6-1 SIUE.
Finch allowed all six runs, five earned, on nine SIUE hits. He walked three and fell to 2-2 on the year.
"It's a great win," Jackson added. "Ryan Daniels did a fantastic job again. Guys played hard, we took care of the ball on defense, and we had some big at-bats. Chase had a great day at the plate and drove in some big runs."
Clay Kelly was 2 for 3 to lead Murray State. Ty Stetson and Tayor Mathews had the RBIs.
SIUE and Murray State will play the second game of the three-game series Saturday. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.