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Cougars Bounce Back with Sunday Win

Mason McReaken
Mason McReaken

CHARLESTON, Ill. – SIUE baseball avoided a sweep Sunday with a 7-3 win in the finale of a three-game series at Eastern Illinois.

The Cougars improved to 15-34 overall and 6-21 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Eastern Illinois dropped to 20-30 overall and 9-18 in OVC play.

"I am proud of the way the guys came out to play today," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "With the way the season has gone, and after a tough loss yesterday, to continue to bounce back week after week and be ready to play on Sunday there's a lot to be said about that."

Mason McReaken (3-2), making his second consecutive Sunday start, allowed two runs on just a single hit and struck out four over five innings to earn his first win as a starter. McReaken walked one, but faced the minimum through the first three innings.

"Mason McReaken gave us a great start," Lyons said. "He really set the tone for us and gave us the opportunity to jump out to an early lead."

Jared McCunn put the Cougars in front 1-0 in the third with his seventh home run of the year. Garrett Carmichael tripled to drive in Aaron Goecks in the fourth and SIUE led 2-0.

EIU got on the board in the fourth. Logan Beaman walked before Hunter Morris hit a run-scoring triple to right to cut the lead to 2-1.

McCunn and Goecks each picked up RBI-hits in the fifth to push SIUE's lead to 4-1.

EIU starter Spenser Dexter (0-2) took the loss. He allowed four runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.

McReaken walked the first two hitters he faced in the fifth. Jimmy Huber advanced to third on a fly ball, and then scored on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Curran.

"Mason was pitching well and was strong," Lyons continued. "We scored two in the fifth, but it was kind of a long inning. After four innings and then sitting for a while, he just wasn't as sharp when he came out in the fifth, but he was able to battle through and get us five strong."

Brock Hammit reached on a fielder's choice in the seventh and Carmichael connected for his first career home run in the eighth.

Ryan Byrd followed McReaken to the mound and worked 2 2/3 innings. He allowed a run and struck out two.

"When he commands the strike zone and doesn't give up the free bases he is a good arm for us," Lyons said. "He did a nice job today."

McCunn came home on a wild pitch in the ninth for the final SIUE run.

Chris Robinson earned his second save with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to finish the game.

"Robinson finished it off well," Lyons added. "When I took the ball from him (Saturday), I told him we would need him for two (Sunday) and he answered the bell."

McCunn finished the day 3 for 5 with the home run and two RBIs. He was 7 for 14 in the series.

"He is swinging the bat really well," Lyons said. "He is obviously seeing the ball well and he's using the whole field. That's what has been impressive about him the last two weekends."

Hammit, Carmichael and Goecks each had two hits for the Cougars, who finished with 10 for the game.

The Cougars finish the 2018 season with four home games at Simmons Complex, beginning with a Tuesday night matchup against Bradley at 6 p.m.

"We can finish on a positive note by coming out ready to play and playing a good brand of baseball," Lyons said.  

 

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