EIU Drops Series Finale, SIUE Downs UT Martin


Published on May 5 2014 8:53 am
Last Updated on May 5 2014 8:53 am
Written by Millie Lange

RICHMOND, Ky.  – Eastern Illinois dropped its Ohio Valley Conference series finale at Eastern Kentucky, 17-11, on Sunday afternoon at Turkey Hughes Field.

The Colonels (22-25, 11-13 OVC) scored three runs on four hits in the first inning to take an early lead. The Panthers (16-30-1, 10-13-1 OVC) got within one (3-2) in the next inning, scoring two runs on two hits and two errors.

EKU scored 11 runs over the next three innings to take a 14-8 advantage through four complete innings. EIU added three more runs in the game to get within three (14-11) before the Colonels sealed the win with three runs in the bottom of the seventh.

“We could not stop their offense today,” said Panther head coach Jim Schmitz. “However, we won the series and have won five of our last seven conference games. I’m proud of how hard our guys are playing at the end of the regular season.”

EIU had one more hit (19-18) than EKU and committed one less error (2-1). The Colonels left one more runner on base (13-12) in the contest.

Caleb Howell went 6-for-6 at the plate with three runs to lead the Panther offense while Brant Valach went 2-for-5 with three RBI. All told, the Panthers had 10 players record a hit in the game with seven different players scoring a run or posting a RBI.

Joe Greenfield (5-5) took the loss for EIU as the senior pitcher allowed eight hits and seven runs (six earned) in 1.1 innings of play. All told, the Panthers used eight pitchers who combined to throw five strikeouts and issue eight walks. North Clay graduate Andrew Grahn pitched 1.1 innings allowing four hits and Stewardson-Strasburg graduate Jaden Widdersheim pitched 2.0 innings, allowing three runs on three hits, one walk and two strikeouts.

Logan Hershenow (2-2) earned the win for EKU, throwing three strikeouts and surrendering 10 hits and three runs in 5.2 innings of relief. Bryan Soloman led the Colonels offense, finishing the day going 3-for-6 with seven RBI and a run.

The Panthers return to action on May 9-11 against Morehead State.

SIUE 13, UT Martin 8

MARTIN, Tenn. – SIUE snapped an 8-8 tie with two runs in the seventh inning and went on to a 13-8 win over UT Martin in the finale of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Skyhawk Field.

"A win is a win regardless of how it looks," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "We just found a way to get it done today. We found  a way to leave here with a series win."

The Cougars won two of three in the series and have won two consecutive OVC series. They are 14-13 in league play. The 14 wins are the most-ever OVC wins by the Cougars. SIUE is now 18-27 overall. UT Martin fell to 7-36 overall and 4-20 in the OVC.

"Now we need to keep this train moving in this direction," Stoecklin added.

Nick Lombardo doubled home the game-winning run and Denton Reed added an RBI single in the inning. Lombardo finished 2 for 4 with the RBI and three runs. The Cougars scored three times in the ninth for the 13-8 final. Effingham graduate Chase Green had a single, one RBI and scored a run.

Both teams scored five runs in the first inning and neither starter made it out of the second inning. The Cougars had just two hits in the first inning, but took advantage of five walks by UTM starter Alex Martin. Brian Sipe capped the inning with a two-run single for SIUE. Sipe finished 1 for 5.

Nantze had a two-run single for the Skyhawks in the home half of the first. SIUE starter Caleb Wilkerson allowed three hits, walked two, and hit two batters in the inning.

Jake Stauffenberg (3-5) pitched the final 3 1/3 innings for victory. He allowed a single hit and did not allow a run. He walked two and struck out three.

"Jake did a nice job helping us win this game," Stoecklin said.

Stauffenberg worked out of a jam in the bottom of the eighth inning. After loading the bases to start the inning on two walks and a hit by pitch, Stauffenberg struck out first baseman Taylor Cox. Ben Upton then hit a short fly to first base and Nick Molina grounded back to Stauffenberg for the final out in the inning.    

"He did a nice job of getting out of a situation that he created," Stoecklin said. "He buckled down and made pitches when he really needed to."

Alec Saikal led the Cougars at the plate. He was 3 for 5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Keaton Wright was 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs.

Reliever Chris Ross (1-5) took the loss. He allowed two runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Five UT Martin players had two RBIs in the loss. Skyhawk catcher Mikey Nantze was 2 for 4 with four RBIs.

The Cougars welcome Saint Louis for a nonconference matchup Wednesday at Simmons Complex. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.