May 20, 2011

Collins Secures 1,000th Win As Cougars Sweep Doubleheader

May 20, 2011

Game 1 Box Score  

Game 2 Box Score

Photo Gallery 

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - SIUE baseball Head Coach Gary Collins earned the 1,000th win in his coaching career thanks to a Cougars sweep of Eastern Kentucky in a doubleheader at Simmons Baseball Complex. The Cougars won the opener 2-1 in 10 innings before taking the nightcap 5-1.

"We made it. We got it done this year," Collins said immediately following the win. "I'm not going to say it was a surprise."

Collins is the 55th coach in NCAA history to win at least 1,000 games. He is the 17th active coach to reach 1,000 wins. Collins, a 1970 SIUE graduate, has been head coach at his alma mater since 1979. His career record is now 1,000- 738-7.

The win pushed SIUE's winning streak to seven, tying the season record for consecutive wins. The Cougars are now 27-24 with one game to play, guaranteeing SIUE its first winning season since 2007, when the team was 37-17.

Collins said the way the team began the year (1-11) made the day special.

"It says a lot about this team," he said. "That's what makes this more enjoyable."

Pitching dominated for the Cougars as two seniors finished off their college careers in grand fashion.

Josh Malin tossed 9 2/3 innings in the opening game, allowing just a run on four hits. He struck out three. Malin settled for a no-decision when the Cougars came back to win the game in the bottom of the 10th inning. Dustin Quattrocchi faced just a single hitter to earn the win. Quattrocchi improved to 4-2 with the victory.

Spencer Patton, 9-2, fired a complete game for the win in game two. The senior allowed a run on four hits and struck out nine in the victory. Patton finished the season with 109 strikeouts, tying him for the second-most strikeouts in a single season in school history. Aaron Rackers also struck out 109 hitters in 1999. The nine wins is the third most in school history in a single season. Six other players have had 10 wins or more in a season.

"Josh was outstanding. Josh was better than Spencer," Collins said of his starters. "When we saw the forecast that it might rain, we weren't going to play without pitching those two seniors--Josh and Spencer," Collins continued. "They have earned it and look what they did."

With the game tied 1-1, Joel Greatting singled in the bottom of the 10th to lift the Cougars to the win in game one. The Cougars loaded the bases with a hit and two walks in the inning.

Eastern Kentucky, 21-33, took an early lead when Colonels' first baseman Richie Rodriguez hit the second pitch of the game over the left field fence to put the Colonels up 1-0.

The Cougars loaded the bases in the third inning before Swinnen scored on a groundout by Mitch Matecki to tie the game, 1-1. Swinnen reached with one out when he was hit by a pitch.

SIUE struck first in the late game, scoring twice on three hits and an error in the first inning. James Vazquez and Travis Becherer opened the inning with back- to-back singles. Becherer reached on a bunt single. An error on the play allowed Vazquez to score from first and moved Becherer all the way to third. Becherer scored on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Matecki to make it 2-0.

Becherer was 3 for 5 in the opener with the run scored. Swinnen was 2 for 4.

EKU tallied a run on three two-out hits in the third inning. A.J. Jamison scored on a single by Bryan Soloman.

The Cougars tacked on two more in the fourth inning on a two-run double by Swinnen. SIUE closed out the scoring in the bottom of the sixth when Swinnen scored on an RBI hit by Vazquez. Swinnen was 2 for 3 with the three RBIs in game two. Vazquez also was 2 for 3.

"No, I don't see that happening," Collins laughed when he was asked if he could win 1,000 more.

SIUE will finish its 2011 season Saturday with a 1 p.m. game against the Colonels.