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Cougars Fall Short in Series Opener

Jack Rigoni
Jack Rigoni

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE scored three times in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday, but came up just short, falling to Southeast Missouri 8-6 in the opener of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series.

SIUE has dropped five straight games and is now 4-10 overall and 1-3 in the OVC. SEMO snapped a four-game losing streak with the win and improved to 11-7 overall and 2-2 in league play.

Trailing 8-3 in the bottom of the ninth, the Cougars opened the inning with consecutive hits by Jack Rigoni, Eric Giltz and Dustin Woodcock. Rigoni scored on Woodcock's single. Raul Elguezabal sent a sacrifice fly to right to score Giltz with two outs.

Justin Perkins was hit by a pitch and Garrett Carmichael reached first on a wild pitch after a strikeout which would have ended the game and instead loaded the bases. Brendan Ryan hit a bouncing ball to short but the play to second base wasn't in time for an out, allowing Woodcock to score to make it 8-6.

SIUE outhit Southeast Missouri 12-7, but left 12 runners on base. The Cougars stranded the bases loaded twice in the game, including to end the game.

"We didn't play very good baseball today," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "We left 12 runners on base and punched out 18 times. That's not a good recipe for a win."

The Cougars trailed 3-0 before getting on the board in the sixth inning on an RBI-single by Brock Weimer. The Redhawks answered with a three-run seventh to extend the lead to 6-1.

SIUE picked up RBI-hits from Jordan Ross in the seventh and Elguezabal in the eigth to trim the lead to 6-3, but SEMO answered again. Redhawks' first baseman Hunter Southerland connected on a solo homer in the eighth to make it 7-3. SEMO's Alex Nielsen double to drive in a run in the ninth to make it 8-3.

Nielsen finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs for the Redhawks.

"We did score in each of the last four innings so that showed some toughness," Lyons added. "We just couldn't get the big hit to really break open an inning. A lot of that has to do with the inability to put the ball in play."

Woodcock, Weimer and Elguezabal, hitting in the three, four and five spots in SIUE's lineup combined for six hits and four RBIs.

"We had a couple of extra base hits out of those guys," Lyons said. "We started a couple of rallies with some extra base hits, but we just couldn't keep it rolling."

Elguezabal was 3 for 4 with two RBIs. Weimer was 2 for 5. Woodcock added a hit, an RBI and a run. Rigoni was 3 for 5 with two runs in the leadoff spot.

Collin Baumgartner started for the Cougars and fell to 0-3 with the loss. He worked into the 6th allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits. He struck out seven.

Southeast Missouri starter Dylan Dodd worked 5 2/3 innings allowing just a single run. He struck out a career-best 11 hitters.  

The series continues with a 1 p.m. game Saturday at Simmons Complex.

"We have an opportunity to get one tomorrow to even it up," Lyons said. "We have to try to bounce back tomorrow and then we'll worry about game three."

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