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Cougars Finish Season with Loss at JSU

SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons
SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons

OXFORD, Ala. – Jacksonville State completed the three-game series sweep of SIUE baseball with an 8-4 win in eight innings Saturday at Choccolocco Park.

The game was delayed before the fifth inning and before the seventh inning, before being called when weather threatened in the middle of the eighth. Heavy rain began to fall just after the game was called.

"It was an odd finish, to say the least, with the weather," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "It was only a matter of time as everyone was watching the radar."

SIUE finished its first season under Lyons with a 23-29 record overall and an 11-19 record in Ohio Valley Conference play. The 23 wins are the most for an SIUE team since the 2012 season.

Jacksonville State finished with a 30-24 record overall and a 17-13 mark in OVC play. The Gamecocks earned the fourth seed in next weekend's conference tournament.

JSU scored a run on two hits in the first inning against SIUE starter Danny Ehrsam.

The Cougars answered in the third. Eric Giltz led off the inning with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mario Tursi and then scored on a ground out by Alec Skender to tie the score 1-1.

The Gamecocks extended their lead to 3-1 with two runs on three hits in the third inning. JSU then used five hits and an SIUE error to plate five runs and go up 8-1. Designated hitter Trent Simpson added a two-run home run in the inning.

"We had a letdown there in the fourth inning on the mound and a couple of defensive mistakes that led to a big inning for them," Lyons said.

Ehrsam (4-3) allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out one. Brendan Miller and Mike Miller each worked in the fourth. Brendan Miller allowed three runs without retiring a hitter. Mike Miller worked 1 2/3 innings and allowed a run on a hit and three walks.

Devin Colley and Mason McReaken each worked a scoreless inning in relief.

The Cougars sent nine hitters to the plate in the eighth and scored four times against JSU reliever Tyler Wilburn. Chris Monasmith and Jared McCunn each picked up RBI-singles. Giltz walked with the bases loaded to force home another run.

"Our guys fought all the way to the end," Lyons added.

McCunn led the way at the plate for SIUE. He was 3 for 3 with an RBI. Skender and Giltz each finished with two hits and an RBI.

Saturday's game marked the final game for seniors Brendan Miller, Alec Skender, Jordan Stading and Keaton Wright.

Skender finished the season as SIUE's leading hitter. He finished with a batting average of .386. His 83 hits were 10th most in a single season at SIUE. Wright finished his career with 231 hits, which are seventh most in career history at SIUE.

"It's a sad day for your seniors as their college careers are coming to an end," Lyons said. "All four of them contributed greatly to the program. Whether it was for a single years or over the course of four years. They're going to be missed.

"I wish we could have finished things on a better note for them but unfortunately we weren't able to."

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