Cougars Earn Series Win at UT Martin

Jake Stauffenberg

MARTIN, Tenn. – SIUE snapped an 8-8 tie with two runs in the seventh inning and went on to a 13-8 win over UT Martin in the finale of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Skyhawk Field.

"A win is a win regardless of how it looks," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "We just found a way to get it done today. We found  a way to leave here with a series win."

The Cougars won two of three in the series and have won two consecutive OVC series. They are 14-13 in league play. The 14 wins are the most-ever OVC wins by the Cougars. SIUE is now 18-27 overall. UT Martin fell to 7-36 overall and 4-20 in the OVC.

"Now we need to keep this train moving in this direction," Stoecklin added.

Nick Lombardo doubled home the game-winning run and Denton Reed added an RBI single in the inning. Lombardo finished 2 for 4 with the RBI and three runs. The Cougars scored three times in the ninth for the 13-8 final.

Both teams scored five runs in the first inning and neither starter made it out of the second inning. The Cougars had just two hits in the first inning, but took advantage of five walks by UTM starter Alex Martin. Brian Sipe capped the inning with a two-run single for SIUE. Sipe finished 1 for 5.

Nantze had a two-run single for the Skyhawks in the home half of the first. SIUE starter Caleb Wilkerson allowed three hits, walked two, and hit two batters in the inning.

Jake Stauffenberg (3-5) pitched the final 3 1/3 innings for victory. He allowed a single hit and did not allow a run. He walked two and struck out three.

"Jake did a nice job helping us win this game," Stoecklin said.

Stauffenberg worked out of a jam in the bottom of the eighth inning. After loading the bases to start the inning on two walks and a hit by pitch, Stauffenberg struck out first baseman Taylor Cox. Ben Upton then hit a short fly to first base and Nick Molina grounded back to Stauffenberg for the final out in the inning.    

"He did a nice job of getting out of a situation that he created," Stoecklin said. "He buckled down and made pitches when he really needed to."

Alec Saikal led the Cougars at the plate. He was 3 for 5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Keaton Wright was 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs.

Reliever Chris Ross (1-5) took the loss. He allowed two runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Five UT Martin players had two RBIs in the loss. Skyhawk catcher Mikey Nantze was 2 for 4 with four RBIs.

The Cougars welcome Saint Louis for a nonconference matchup Wednesday at Simmons Complex. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.