April 26, 2014

Cougars, Eagles Split Doubleheader; SIUE Wins Series

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE and Morehead State split a doubleheader Saturday wrapping up a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series at Simmons Baseball Complex. SIUE won the opener 11-4 before dropping the nightcap 8-7.

The Cougars won two of three in the series with the Eagles and are now 12-12 in OVC play and 15-26 overall. Morehead State is 11-10 in the OVC and 23-21 overall.

"It's still a great series. I'm pleased with two out of three," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "I would have loved to get the sweep because we were so close."

The Cougars scored 11 times on a season-high 19 hits in the opener. The potent offensive attack was fueled by the middle of the order. Skyler Geissinger led the way with three hits (3-5) and two home runs in the opener. He scored three times. Devin Caldwell was 2 for 4 with a home run and two runs scored. Caldwell and Geissinger went back-to-back in a three-run fifth inning for the Cougars. Keaton Wright added three hits and three RBIs. Alec Saikal also had three hits for SIUE.

"The middle of our order was fantastic this weekend," Stoecklin added. "They stayed within their approach, they took quality at-bats, and they were tough outs all weekend long."

Morehead State got a solo home run in the second inning and then tacked on three runs in the third inning against SIUE starter Jarrett Bednar (1-3).

Bednar pitched a career-high 8 1/3 innings. He allowed four runs on 12 hits. He tied his career high with five strikeouts.

"The key to his outing in that game was his third inning. Earlier in the year he would have struggled and doubted himself and that inning would have gotten away from him," Stoecklin said of Bednar. "Today he buckled down and trusted his stuff.

Once he got out of the third he cruised," Stoecklin continued. "It was nice to see him go out there and have a good outing, because he's worked hard to get to where he's at."

The Cougars led 3-2 heading into the ninth inning of game two when Morehead State pushed six run across on four hits against Cougar reliever P.J. Schuster. Schuster suffered the loss to fall to 1-4.

"P.J. cruised in the eighth," Stoecklin said. "Then he let a hit by the leadoff hitter on an 0-2 pitch really affect him."

J.D. Williams started for the Cougars and pitched seven innings allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out two.

"I'm not surprised with his performance at all," Stoecklin said of Williams. "He's been showing it his last few outings. He's been working to polish some things and it's starting to show out on the mound."

The Cougars loaded the bases on a hit, a walk, and an error, before Geissinger connected on his first career grand slam to trim the lead to 8-7, but couldn't even the score.

"That's baseball. Everyone has to be locked in for all nine innings and all 27 outs," Stoecklin said. "It's been the big inning all year long that has really bitten us in the rear end."

Geissinger finished the weekend 6 for 13 (.462) with three home runs and eight RBIs.

SIUE will play host to former Division II rival Quincy in a nonconference matchup Wednesday at Simmons Complex. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.