Cougar Seniors Come Through in Sweep of Skyhawks

Cougars celebrate the game winning hit
Cougars celebrate the game winning hit

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Senior Matt Highland's infield single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning drove home Skyler Geissinger with the winning run, lifting SIUE baseball to a 3-2 win over UT Martin on senior day at Simmons Baseball Complex.

The Cougars (13-29 overall, 10-17 OVC) completed the three-game sweep of the Skyhawks and have won four consecutive games for the first time this season. UT Martin fell to 10-33 overall and 3-21 in the OVC with the loss.

Geissinger was hit by a pitch with two outs in the in the 10th inning, and moved to third on a double by Devin Caldwell. Highland hit a slow roller to the left side of the infield off reliever Carter Smith. UT Martin third baseman Matt Haynes fielded the ball, and threw to first where Highland slid head first over the bag just ahead of the throw.

"(Smith) fooled me on a few sliders before that pitch," Highland said after the game. "I just check-swung and put that ball in play and just thought to myself, 'get 90 feet. Get to first base and we'll win the game.'"

The Cougars poured out of the dugout and chased Highland down before dog-piling between second and third base.

"I looked up and I saw some of the guys running so I took off running," Highland added "They caught me before second base. We had fun out there."

Smith suffered the loss for the Skyhawks. He pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief and fell to 0-4 with the defeat.

Highland's heroics came after both teams scored twice in the eighth inning to knot the score 2-2. UT Martin got RBI-hits from Sonny Mastromatteo and Byron Johann to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning to put the Skyhawks up 2-0. A trio of Cougar seniors came through for SIUE in the bottom of the inning.

Travis Becherer led off the inning with a single, and then scored on a triple by fellow James Vazquez. Joel Greatting then singled to drive home Vazquez with the game-tying run.

Becherer was 4 for 5 with the run scored. Vazquez and Greatting each had two hits and an RBI.  

"It was a great weekend," SIUE Interim Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "It was fun to watch the guys celebrate on senior day. Look at the three runs we scored and our seniors had a hand in all of them."

It was a pair of seniors that came through on the mound for the Cougars as well. Tony Schaeffer started the game and allowed two runs over a career high eight innings of work. He tied his career high with six strikeouts. Brooks McDowell pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two, and improved to 3-2 with the win.

"Tony did a great job. He mixed up his pitches, threw strikes, and competed well," Stoecklin said. "Brooks came in and shut the door."

Johann, Grant Glasser, and Hagen Nelson each had two hits to lead the way for UT Martin.

SIUE remains home to play host to Indiana State Tuesday night at Simmons Complex.

"We'll enjoy the win for today and then (Monday) we'll get back to worrying about our game on Tuesday," Stoecklin said.

"It was great to come out and get some wins at home," Highland added. "It's nice to get some wins, especially on senior day—all of us, winners going out together."

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