BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – SIUE baseball closed out a dominant weekend with a doubleheader sweep Saturday. The Cougars defeated Samford 5-0 and 4-2 to finish off a three-game sweep of the Bulldogs.
SIUE improved to 13-29 overall. Samford slipped to 24-21.
Kenny Serwa (3-4) was the story in game one, using 106 pitches to record SIUE's first complete game shutout in four seasons. The junior right-hander allowed just a single hit. He did not walk a batter and he struck out four.
"To pitch the way we did all weekend shows a lot about what our guys are capable of," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "Kenny Serwa pitched extremely well in game one. We couldn't be happier with the way he threw."
Serwa's complete game was the first of the season for the Cougars and the first complete game shutout since May 2014 when Ryan Daniels blanked Austin Peay.
Goecks finished the game 2 for 4.
Samford right fielder Max Pinto had the only hit for the Bulldogs, picking up a single in the second inning.
The Cougars scored three times in the first inning in game two and never trailed in the contest. Jared McCunn singled with one out and Brock Weimer was hit by a pitch. Brock Hammit then connected for his fifth home run of the season to make it 3-0.
"It's really hard to sweep a doubleheader," Lyons said. "To put three up in the first inning against a quality arm and to get those three runs really showed our guys the confidence is there."
SIUE starter David Llorens retired the side in order in the first inning but left before the second inning with shoulder discomfort. Ryan Byrd (1-7) took over and worked four innings in relief on his way to his first win. He struck out one.
Samford scored its only two runs in the series in the second and third innings. Leftfielder Ryan Crockett drove home a run in the second inning and designated hitter Austin Edens added an RBI in the third.
Chris Robinson worked three scoreless innings out of the SIUE bullpen, allowing just one hit. He struck out three.
Aaron Jackson crushed a one-out solo home run in the eighth to extend SIUE's lead to 4-2.
Mason McReaken struck out the side in order in the ninth to nail down his sixth save of the season.
"Game two was a collective effort with Llorens only throwing an inning, Lyons said. "We went from Ryan Byrd to (Robinson) to Mason. (Serwa's) complete game left us our whole bullpen available in game two and those guys answered the bell."
The Cougars finished with five hits in game two and 11 total for the day.
"We didn't bang the ball all around the ballpark but we got some clutch hits and some big home runs," Lyons said. "But it all starts on the mound and we had a great weekend defensively. Jordan Ross made a lot of superb plays on the infield which really helped obviously."
SIUE has three Ohio Valley Conference weekends remaining, including two home series.
"Down the stretch we have to make a big push in the league," Lyons said. "Hopefully, the type of pitching we got and defense we played this weekend will continue. We have struggled all year in getting hits in some big spots and we started to break through this weekend."
The Cougars do not play until Friday when Austin Peay comes to Edwardsville to begin a three-game series at Simmons Complex.