EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE junior pitcher Kenny Serwa fired eight shutout innings Saturday to lead SIUE baseball to a 4-2 win over Belmont Saturday. The win secured SIUE's first Ohio Valley Conference series win of the year.
The Cougars are now 7-18 overall and 3-9 in OVC play. Belmont dropped to 12-15 overall and 7-5 in the OVC.
The series victory is the first for SIUE over Belmont.
Serwa struck out a career-best nine hitters, walked one and allowed just six hits. The Bruins had only three runners in scoring positon in eight innings against Serwa.
"Kenny has been so solid as that 'Sunday guy,'" Lyons said. "You go to bed after game two feeling good knowing you're probably going to get a quality start and he did it today."
SIUE took the lead in the fifth with three consecutive two-out base runners against Belmont starter Casey Queener.
Queener allowed two runs over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked four. He fell to 2-3 with the loss.
The Cougars padded the lead in the eighth inning, again scoring twice with two outs. Steven Pattan singled and moved to third on a Mario Tursi hit, before coming into score on a wild pitch. Tursi scored on a two-out infield hit by Jordan Ross.
Ross finished 3 for 5 with the RBI. Pattan was 2 for 4 with the run scored.
"We took a lot of quality at-bats," Lyons said. "There were very few, if any, easy outs or wasted at-bats. We went the first three innings with runners in scoring position and came up empty, but we knew it was a matter of time and we would punch through."
Belmont made things interesting, scoring twice in the top of the ninth inning. SIUE reliever Collin Baumgartner walked the only two hitters he faced, and both scored. Chris Robinson allowed a hit and struck out two en route to his first save of the year.
SIUE returns to the road for four games next week. The Cougars are scheduled to play at Missouri Wednesday at 6:30. OVC play continues next weekend at Eastern Kentucky.
"As we look at these OVC weekends, we have a mountain to climb to get back into the hunt for the tournament," Lyons said. "This is a huge step in the right direction."