EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE scored a series-opening 8-5 win over UT Martin Friday at Simmons Baseball Complex.
SIUE snapped a five-game losing streak with the win an improved to 6-10 in Ohio Valley Conference play and 10-21 overall. UT Martin fell to 13-20 overall and 4-9 in league play.
"It was definitely a solid start to the weekend," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "It's just win one of the weekend and we have two to play tomorrow."
The Cougars and Skyhawks will finish the series with a doubleheader Saturday because of forecasted rain on Sunday. First pitch is set for 12 p.m.
The Cougars broke on top in the bottom of the first scoring a run on two hits and they never trailed. Dustin Woodcock singled to drive in Brendan Ryan with the game's first run. SIUE tacked on two more in the third on an error and an RBI-hit by Raul Elguezabal to go up 3-0.
"It was nice offensively to get a couple of runs early," Lyons added.
SIUE starter David Llorens dominated in the early innings. The left-hander retired the first nine hitters he faced and struck out eight. The Skyhawks began chipping away in the fifth inning.
Llorens walked the first two hitters in the inning and then UTM leftfielder Sean Dixson connected on a home run to straight away centerfield to tie the score 3-3.
"David Llorens was really sharp to start the game," Lyons said. First time through the lineup he strikes out eight of the first nine batters and the second time through the lineup they made a pretty good adjustment on him."
Brock Weimer and Peyton Cordova-Smith singled to open the bottom of the inning before Justin Perkins parked a one-out, three-run home run over the fence in left center to put the Cougars back on top 6-3.
"Perkins answered back with the big three-run homer and that was a huge momentum swing," Lyons said. "(UTM) grabbed it and we were able to take it right back."
Llorens started the sixth but left after a walk and a double, which eventually would lead to two more runs to cut the lead to 6-5. Chris Robinson took over and gave up a double before settling in to work four scoreless innings for his first save.
"We tried to stretch (Llorens) to get six innings out of him," Lyons said. "Chris pretty much settled the storm right there."
Llorens struck out nine over the five innings. He improved to 3-4 with the win. Robinson added five strikeouts in four innings.
UT Martin starter Austen Bullington lasted just 2 1/3 innings and fell to 1-6 with the loss.
SIUE outhit UT Martin 11-3. Weimer was 3-4. Cordova-Smith was 2-4.
"The guys were swinging the bats with a lot of confidence tonight and that is good to see," Lyons said.
"This is a crucial series for both of us," Lyons added. "Both teams realize that and tomorrow is key."