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Cougars Rally to Defeat Evansville 5-2

Chris Monasmith scores
Chris Monasmith scores
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Chris Monasmith made sure the SIUE baseball team regained its winning touch Wednesday.

The reserve catcher delivered a clutch two-run double in a four-run eighth inning as the Cougars overtook Evansville 5-2 in a nonconference game at Simmons Baseball Complex. SIUE, snapping a four-game losing streak, improved to 11-9. Evansville dropped to 7-13.

"It's a big win for the team. We were ready to bounce back," said Monasmith. "I got an opportunity and feel good about all I did."

What he did was bounce a two-run double over third base in the decisive eighth as the Cougars overturned a 2-1 deficit. Teammate Jordan Stading then followed with a two-run single and SIUE closed out its win in improving to 7-2 at Roy E. Lee Field.

"The game was on the line and I wanted to do what I could to help the team win," said Monasmith, 2-for-2 after replacing starting catcher Brock Weimer in the fifth.

SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons added, "Chris has been great as our No. 2 catcher and he has had a lot of clutch hits for us."

Lyons said the Cougars got the key hits when they needed them. It was all about timing and placement.

"We got a chopper over the third baseman's head and then a seeing-eye single," Lyons noted.

Reliever Mason McReaken struck out the side in order in the ninth to preserve the win for Tristan Walters, the fourth of five SIUE pitchers. Starter Brendan Miller kept the Cougars within striking distance by allowing only three hits and one run five innings.

"Brendan pitched really well," Lyons said. "We wanted to get at least four innings out of him and we got five. And our plan was to get four or five innings out of the bullpen."

Four SIUE relievers, working four innings, gave up three hits and one run.

"Mason has done a great job all year," Lyons said of his closer. "It was a nice win and a total team win. Our guys have been resilient all season."

Evansville used single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to grab a 2-0 lead, but the Cougars refused to buckle. Monasmith's one-out single in the seventh got them going. Following a fielder's choice, Aaron Goecks walked and Garrett Carmichael stroked a run-scoring double to left in cutting Evansville's lead to 2-1.

It was Carmichael's first collegiate hit and RBI. He's a redshirt freshman from Wheelersburg, Ohio.

"He was really a bright spot for us today," Lyons said.

Things got brighter for the Cougars in their eighth. Alec Skender and Keaton Wright both walked and Jared McCunn sacrificed them to third and second base, respectively. The Purple Aces walked Dustin Woodcock to lead the bases.

Monasmith then came through with the double and Stading added the two-run single against a drawn-in infield.

Overall, the Cougars scored five runs on five hits. Korbin Williams tried to ignite Evansville by going 3-for-3 with a walk. He had half of the Purple Aces' hits.

"We had good pitching, good defense and timely hitting," Lyons said. "It was a good way to get ready for the weekend."

SIUE is scheduled to play host to Southeast Missouri in Ohio Valley Conference competition this weekend. The Redhawks come calling at 6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. The Cougars then travel to Evansville for another nonconference game on Wednesday, March 29.

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