MARTIN, Tenn. – SIUE baseball scored seven unanswered runs Friday night to earn a come-from-behind 14-7 victory in the first game of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series at Skyhawk Field.
The Cougars improved to 13-12 in conference play, equaling the school record for OVC wins set in 2012. SIUE also improved to 8-1 in series openers in OVC play. The Cougars have now won four of their last five games and are 17-26 overall. UT Martin dropped to 6-35 overall and 3-19 in league play.
"We did a great job offensively tonight," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "It really was contagious. Guys fed off of one another."
Stewart, who has seven hits in his last two games, was 4 for 6 with a home run, two doubles, and two RBIs.
"He's a guy who has really been working hard; putting in extra time," Stoecklin said of the sophomore. "He's taking great at-bats. His home run was big to help get us going.
UT Martin got on the board first thanks to a two-run home run by Ben Upton in the first inning. The Skyhawks got to SIUE starter Ryan Daniels early. Daniels lasted just 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the year. He allowed seven runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out six.
"He just wasn't sharp tonight," Stoecklin said. "He's not himself right now."
Trailing 7-5 after four innings, the Cougars erupted for nine runs in the game's final five frames. P.J. Schuster cooled the Skyhawk bats with 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed just four hits and tied his career high with six strikeouts.
"P.J. was key," Stoecklin said. "He held the fort down. I've seen it coming. He's been working on some stuff and it came together tonight on the mound. He really had plus-stuff."
SIUE broke a 7-7 tie with five runs in the top of the seventh inning on seven hits. The Cougars added two more in the eighth for the final margin.
Upton finished 2 for 5 with four RBIs to lead UT Martin. Carter Smith suffered the loss in relief. Smith allowed five runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings.
The two teams play game two in the series Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.