EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Skyler Geissinger's walk-off hit in the bottom of the 11th inning completed an improbable 9-8 come-from-behind win for SIUE baseball Friday. The Cougars defeated Morehead State in the first game of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series at Simmons Baseball Complex.
The Cougars improved to 11-11 in OVC play and 14-25 overall with the win. Morehead State dropped to 10-9 in the OVC and 22-20 overall.
Geissinger came to plate with no one out and Devin Caldwell at second base. Geissinger was initially bunting but then drove a 2-2 pitch to left field, scoring Caldwell and lifting the Cougars to the win.
"I wanted him to bunt to get the runner over," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "When the pitcher got behind in the count I took the bunt off and said it's time to go to work. Skyler wanted to hit and I could tell he wanted to hit. He put a good swing on it."
The game was scoreless through the first seven innings and the two teams had combined for six hits. Morehead State scored seven times on six hits to take a 7-0 lead in the top of the eighth inning and chase Cougar starter Ryan Daniels.
"This was a really odd game," Stoecklin added. "Probably one of the strangest games I have ever been involved with."
The Cougars then answered with six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the inning to trim the Eagles' lead to 7-6. Keaton Wright capped the inning with a long grand slam to straight-away center field.
"I knew it was gone when he hit it," Stoecklin said. "No doubt about it. This kid has a tremendous amount of power and when he gets one up and he gets extended it goes a long way.
Wright finished 2 for 4 with a triple, the grand slam, and four RBIs.
"It was huge," Stoecklin added of the grand slam. "It was the hit that got us back in the game and got our momentum going."
Morehead State added a run in the ninth inning to go up 8-6, but the Cougars again had an answer. Alec Saikal led off the inning with a double followed by an RBI-triple from Caldwell. Geissinger then tied the game with an RBI single to right field setting the stage for his game-winner later.
"He had two big at-bats in clutch situations," Stoecklin said of Geissinger. "The last one obviously was the most clutch."
Caldwell finished the game 4 for 6 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
"They were huge at bats," Stoecklin said. "His two RBIs were huge and he scored the winning run as well."
After managing just three hits in the first seven innings, the Cougars banged out 12 hits over the game's final three innings.
"We showed a lot of fight and a lot of heart tonight," Stoecklin said. "Once we got back into it, I think we made up our minds we were going to find a way to win."
Jake Stauffenberg (2-5) earned the win in relief. Stauffenberg allowed a run on five hits over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out one.
"Jake did a really nice job, coming in shutting the door and keeping them at bay," Stoecklin said.
The teams will conclude the three-game series with a doubleheader Saturday because of a forecasted inclement weather Sunday afternoon.