EDWARDSVILE, Ill. – A four-run fifth inning vaulted SIUE baseball to a 6-5 win over Bradley in nonconference baseball action at Simmons Baseball Complex.
The win snapped a seven-game losing skid for the Cougars, who improved to 11-20 overall. Bradley fell to 17-11.
"We beat a good team tonight. We should feel good about it," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said.
The Cougars picked up two base hits and took advantage of four hit batters and a walk in the fifth inning. Alec Saikal drove home two with a single. Devin Caldwell added an RBI single in the inning and Keaton Wright drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
"When someone opens the door for you, kick it open," Stoecklin said. "They hit some batters and put guys on base and we punished them with the big inning.
I'm always talking about how the big inning can win a ballgame well we did it to them tonight," he continued. "We put the four -spot on them."
Sophomore J.D. Williams made his first start of the year for the Cougars, throwing a career-high four innings. He allowed two runs on four hits. He tied his career high with five strikeouts.
"J.D. put a stamp on it early in the game," Stoecklin said. "It was clear that he was going to go out and compete and he set the tone for the whole team."
Zach Malach (1-1) allowed a run over three innings of relief. He struck out three and earned the first win of his Cougar career. P.J. Schuster added a scoreless eighth inning despite allowing two hits. Jarrett Bednar gave up a pair of runs in the ninth, but closed out the game to earn his first save.
"We pitched with confidence tonight and that is the key," Stoecklin said. "It's not about stuff it's about believing your stuff is good enough."
The game was tied 2-2 when the Cougars put the up the four-run inning. Bradley got a run back in the sixth to cut the Cougar lead to 6-3. Bradley designated hitter Greg Partyka hit a two-run home run in the ninth to trim the lead to 6-5.
Bradley reliever John Nasshan (1-1) allowed three runs in just 1/3 of an inning to suffer the loss.
Saikal led the Cougars at the plate. He was 2 for 4 with three RBIs. The Braves outhit the Cougars 12-8 for the course of the game, but Stoecklin wasn't concerned about number of hits.
"All that matters is getting the hits when you need them," he said.
Bradley catcher Drew Carlile led the way for the Braves. He was 3 for 5. Partyka, Max Murphy, and Spencer Gaa each had two hits.
The Cougars resume Ohio Valley Conference play with a three-game home weekend series against Belmont. First pitch Friday night is set for 6 p.m.