MARTIN, Tenn. – Junior Peyton Cordova-Smith led an SIUE offense which came to life Saturday. The Cougars piled up 17 runs on 19 hits to take the second game of a doubleheader and the final game of a three-game baseball series from UT Martin 17-6. The Skyhawks won the opening game of the doubleheader 7-1.
SIUE moved to 10-28 and 4-17 in Ohio Valley Conference play. UT Martin moved to 7-30 overall and 4-14 in the OVC.
The 17 runs and 19 hits were both season highs for the Cougars, who scored six runs in the first inning and another six runs in the eighth inning. SIUE scored twice in the second and added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
"It was nice to see our guys get some energy and to finish what was ultimately a disappointing weekend on a positive note," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "The offense finally broke through. There was a lot of confidence in the swings and aggressiveness that has been lacking and that was good to see."
Cordova-Smith set the tone for the Cougars early and finished with a record-tying night. He tied SIUE's Division I era record for hits in a game and RBIs in a game, finishing 5 for 6 with two home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs.
Cordova-Smith hit a grand slam in the first inning and added a two-run home run in the second inning to push SIUE to an 8-0 lead. In the fifth inning, he doubled with one out and scored a run. He came back to the plate with the bases loaded in the eighth and just missed a second grand slam, instead doubling off the right-center field wall to drive home two.
"He has taken some better (batting practice) lately," Lyons said of Cordova-Smith. "That's more like what we expect out of him."
Sophomore outfielder Jackson Hoang, making his first career start, was 3 for 5 with two RBIs in the game.
After the Cougars built the 8-0 lead after two innings, UT Martin cut the lead to 8-6 against SIUE starter David Llorens and reliever Collin Baumgartner. Llorens started and struck out three in 2 2/3 innings. He did not allow a hit, but walked five. Baumgartner allowed two runs on three hits in an inning of work.
Chris Robinson (2-1) worked 3 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings in relief to earn the win. He walked one and struck out four.
"After having the big lead and then having them whittle away at it, Chris calmed the storm, if you will," Lyons said. "He gave us three really good innings."
UT Martin scored four times in the first two innings in game one and never trailed.
SIUE remains on the road with a Wednesday afternoon game at Western Illinois. The Cougars play a nonconference series at Samford beginning Friday.