EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Govern's two-run home run proved to be the difference Friday as the Panthers defeated SIUE 4-3 in the opener of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series at Simmons Baseball Complex.
With SIUE leading 3-2 in the seventh, Govern hit his 12th home run of the year off SIUE reliever Chris Robinson to give EIU the lead for good.
"We made a mistake pitch and a guy hit it over the wall for a two-run homer and that's the difference in the game," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "It was a well-pitched game from both sides."
Robinson slipped to 3-3 with the loss. The two runs in the seventh were all he would yield in three innings of work out of the SIUE bullpen.
Cougar starter Collin Baungartner worked the first six innings allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out four.
Eastern Illinois starter Michael YaSinka (4-5) worked into the seventh and allowed all three SIUE runs on four hits. Alex Stevens worked the final two innings for the Panthers, striking out three, to earn his fifth save.
"Cumulatively, It doesn't look like we left that many guys on base, but we had a couple of opportunities where we could have separated ourselves and we just didn't come through with a big hit," Lyons said.
The Cougars scored a run, but left the bases loaded in the fourth inning. SIUE loaded the bases in the seventh with one out, before hitting into a double play.
The second game of the series is set for Saturday at 1 p.m.
"We'll be ready to go tomorrow," Lyons said. "Hopefully we can get the bats going a little bit. We've been in a little bit of a funk for the last week or so and we need to get it going tomorrow."