EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE starter David Llorens tossed six shutout innings and struck out a career-best 10 hitters Saturday as the Cougars defeated Southeast Missouri 9-3 in the second game of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series.
SIUE improved to 5-10 overall and 2-3 in the OVC. SEMO fell to 11-8 and also is 2-3 in the OVC.
The six innings from Llorens tied his career long. He surrendered only three hits in the game.
"That's as well as David has pitched in a Cougar uniform," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "It came at the right time. We were in a pitcher's duel. (SEMO starter Noah) Niznik did a really nice job. They matched each other pitch for pitch for six innings."
Llorens racked up multiple strikeouts in four of the six innings he worked. He improved to 1-2 with the win.
"It was an outstanding job by David," Lyons continued. "He a good tempo, mixed his pitches and collected quite a few strikeouts."
Meanwhile Niznik retired the first 13 SIUE hitters of the day. Raul Elguezabal changed things with one out in the fifth with a solo home run to right to put SIUE on top.
Niznik worked 5 1/3 innings and fell to 2-1 with the loss.
"That home run jumpstarted things," Lyons said. "It gives us a little bit of confidence when he goes the other way for the big hit."
Eric Giltz picked up an RBI-hit in the sixth as the Cougars scored twice to go on top 3-0.
Llorens started the seventh, but allowed a couple of base runners before being relieved by Braydon Bone. Bone got out of the inning and added a strikeout to preserve the shutout.
"Another huge spot was the top of the seventh inning," Lyons said. "Brayden Bone gave us a big stop to keep it at 3-0."
The Cougars took control with a six-run seventh inning against three SEMO relievers. Giltz drove in two with a double, Brock Weimer bounced a ball over the centerfield fence for an RBI-double and Elguezabal and Jordan Ross each picked up RBI singles in the inning.
Giltz was 2 for 3 with three RBIs and run scored.
"When he has had his opportunities he has provided some big veteran at-bats," Lyons said of Giltz. "That was great to see out of him."
Elguezabal and Ross each finished with two hits for the Cougars.
SEMO scored a runs in the eighth and two in the ninth inning for the final margin. Danny Wright finished 3 for 5 with two RBIs for the Redhawks.
The Cougars and Redhawks will each be looking for the series win in Sunday's finale at Simmons Complex.
"When you want to do well in the league you have to win on Sundays," Lyons said. "It is going to be a big game tomorrow."