EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Illinois State scored five times in the first inning Wednesday and never looked back, defeating SIUE 16-9 at Simmons Baseball Complex. The game was called after eight innings due to heavy rain.
The Cougars fell to 4-9 and have lost four straight games. Illinois State improved to 10-5.
"Today is one where we pack this one behind us and move on," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "We don't have time to think about it."
Jack Butler capped the five-run ISU first inning with a grand slam to put the Redbirds up 5-0 against SIUE starter Ryan Byrd.
"You're playing catch-up right from the beginning and we just never were able to get back into it," Lyons added.
Byrd settled in and did not allow a run over the next two innings. He struck out five for the game and fell to 0-1 with the loss.
"We knew it was going to be Ryan Byrd and a couple of different faces on the mound," Lyons said. "Ryan gave up the five-spot in the first, but he bounced back to give us two good innings."
The Cougars used five pitchers total in the game.
SIUE got a two-run home run from Brock Weimer in the bottom of the first inning and a bases loaded walk to Jack Rigoni in the second to trim the lead to 5-3, but Illinois State scored another five runs in the fourth to open the game up.
"It was a windy day, ideal hitting conditions," Lyon said. "We left a couple of balls up early on. (Illinois State) swung the bats really well, kudos to them."
SIUE scored twice in the fifth and Illinois State added a run in the fifth for an 11-5 lead. The Redbirds scored twice more in the sixth and added three more in the seventh to lead 16-5. Illinois State homered four times in the game.
"The guys responded and mounted a little bit of a comeback," Lyons said. "They never really washed away at-bats. That was good to see, but we were never able to put up the big inning to get us back into it."
Woodcock finished the game 3-5 with three doubles, two RBIs, two runs scored and picked up an outfield assist when he threw ISU's Tyson Hays out at third from right field in the fourth inning.
The Cougars return to Ohio Valley Conference play with a weekend home series against Southeast Missouri beginning Friday at 3 p.m.
"We're going to turn the page and get ready for SEMO," Lyons said. "Regardless of the result today, we feel good about the way we have played going into the day. Even though it's early, this will be a big series."