EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extra innings, but Jacksonville State came up with five runs in the 12th to earn an 8-3 win in the opening of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series at Simmons Baseball Complex.
The Cougars fell to 15-35 overall and 6-22 in OVC play. Jacksonville State improved to 28-23 and 16-12.
"The final score is not indicative of the type of game we played," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said.
With SIUE trailing 3-1 going to the ninth, Aaron Jackson walked to start the inning. Jordan Ross then singled. Eric Giltz laid down a sacrifice bunt, but reached on an error. Jared McCunn drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right field and Peyton Cordova-Smith singled to tie the game.
"Guys showed a lot of heart and fight in the late innings to get back into it," Lyons added. "We fell behind 3-0 early, and we haven't really shown the ability to battle back this year. They guys did tonight and I am proud of them for that."
Both teams had opportunities in the extra innings. The Cougars had runners at second and third with one out in the 10th, but did not score. SIUE left runners at first and second in the 11th and failed to score.
"We had ourselves into a pretty good situation with second and third with one out," Lyons said. "The early at-bats in those innings were good – getting leadoff guys on both innings. We were taking base-hit approach and not trying to do too much. Unfortunately we weren't able to get that big run in."
Jacksonville State had runners at first and third in the 10th and at second and third in the 11th but didn't score.
"Eventually it was going to fall for one of the sides," Lyons said.
JSU broke through in the 12th inning. The Gamecocks scored a run on a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a hit to take a 4-3 lead. An SIUE error followed a second walk, allowing a pair of runs to score. Jacksonville State added a run on a passed ball and another on a ground out to lead 8-3.
"The defensive miscue let the flood gates open," Lyons added.
"Collin gave us five," Lyons said of his starter. "He gutted it out. He continued to get some weak contact and was able to wiggle his way out of jams."
Brock Fulkerson worked four scoreless innings allowing the Cougars the chance to tie the game. He allowed four hits and struck out six.
"Brock Fulkerson was great," Lyons said. "He has been in that role and has done that several times this year for us."
Jacksonville State reliever Trent Simpson (1-3) earned the win. He allowed four hits, but no runs in two innings. He struck out five.
SIUE and Jacksonville State continue the series with a 6 p.m. game Friday.
"We look forward to coming back out here tomorrow night with another opportunity to get one in the win column," Lyons said.