EIU, SIUE Drop Games at OVC Tournament


Published on May 23 2014 4:47 am
Last Updated on May 23 2014 4:47 am
Written by Millie Lange

JACKSONVILLE -- The Eastern Illinois University Panther baseball team was defeated, 8-6, by No. 1 seed Southeast Missouri in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at the Ballpark in Jackson on Thursday night.
Trailing by five heading into the top of the ninth inning, the Panthers scored three runs on three hits. Caleb Howell drove in the first run on a double to left field before Mitch Gasbarro hit a RBI single to right field for the second run. A Demtre Taylor sacrifice fly scored the third run before Brant Valach was thrown out at second base on the final play of the night trying leg out a double on a ball hit to left center field – ending the Panther comeback effort.  
The Panthers fall to 22-32-1 on the year while the Redhawks improve to 37-18. EIU will face No. 3 seed Jacksonville State at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 23 in an elimination game. The Panthers defeated the Gamecocks, 2-1, on Wednesday night in the opening game of the tournament for both squads.
Southeast Missouri took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on a RBI ground out by Derek Gibson. Gasbarro crossed home plate from second base on a fielding error in the top of the third inning to tie the game at one.
Scott Mitchell hit a RBI single up the middle in the fourth inning to give the Redhawks a 2-1 advantage. Southeast Missouri added five runs over the sixth and seventh innings to make the score 7-1.
The Panthers scored two runs on three hits in the top of the eighth inning to get within four (7-3). Cameron Berra drove in the first run with a RBI single before Tyler Schweigert hit a sacrifice fly to right field for the final run. Gibson hit a RBI triple in the bottom of the frame to give the Redhawks an 8-3 advantage.
Joe Greenfield (6-6) took the loss for EIU, striking out two batters with one walk. The senior pitcher allowed eight hits and four runs. Stewardson-Strasburg graduate Jaden Widdersheim pitched one inning for EIU, allowing four hits and one run.
Alex Winkelman (6-2) earned the win for the Redhawks, surrendering seven hits and three runs (two earned) in eight innings of work. He threw four strikeouts and issued two walks. Brady Wright posted his sixth save of the year for Southeast Missouri.
Mitchell paced the Redhawks offense as he went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run. Gibson added two hits, a run and two RBI.
Howell paced the Panther offense, going 2-for-5 with two doubles, a run and a RBI. Valach added three hits and a run.

Southeast Missouri had five more hits (15-10) than EIU and committed one more error (2-1). The Redhawks also left three more runners on base (10-7).

Wednesday's Game

Junior Matt Borens threw a season-high 11 strikeouts to lead the Panther baseball team to a 2-1 upset of No. 3 seed Jacksonville State on Wednesday night at the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at the Ballpark in Jackson.

Borens (6-4) issued only one walk and allowed two hits in 8.2 innings of work. He had a no-hitter intact through 4.2 innings of play until Tyler Gamble hit a single to center field.


Jacksonville State 7, SIUE 5

Jacksonville State scored three times in the top of the ninth inning Thursday to earn a come-from-behind 7-5 win over SIUE in the first elimination game of the Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament.

"This was a tough game," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "I thought both teams were competitive. They just got a couple of more hits than we did when it counted."

SIUE ends its season at 21-33 overall. Jacksonville State improves to 31-25 and advances to play Friday.

The Cougars scored first, getting a sacrifice fly from Alec Saikal in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. The Gamecocks took a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning in the first of four lead changes over the next four half-innings.

Ryan Daniels started for the Cougars allowing four runs on nine hits over six innings. He struck out five and did not walk a batter. He did not figure into the decision. It was only the third time this season SIUE has lost a start by Daniels.

"Ryan wasn't at his best today, but he did one thing and that's compete," Stoecklin said. "He gave us an opportunity to win that game. All you can do as a starter when you're not as sharp as you'd like is just go out and battle. He did that. I'm proud of the way he pitched."

SIUE trailed 4-3 before getting two-out RBI hits from Nick Lombardo, in the sixth inning, to tie the game and Denton Reed, in the eighth inning, to give the Cougars a 5-4 lead.

Jacksonville State got a pair of hits against Cougar reliever Zach Malach to open the ninth inning. P.J. Schuster relieved Malach and allowed a run on a pair of hits.

Effingham High School graduate Chase Green had a single and scored a run for SIUE.

Malach (2-2) suffered the loss in relief. He allowed two runs on four hits over 2 2/3 innings.

"He did a good job as well," Stoecklin said of Malach. "He's pitched well down the stretch. I've been happy with what he has done the last couple of weeks."

Reed led SIUE at the plate. He was 3 for 4 with the RBI. Lombardo was 2 for 4 with the RBI.

Michael Bishop, Ryan Sebra, and Andrew Bishop each had three hits for the Gamecocks.

"It's hard to think about the positives right now, because we are disappointed about not advancing in the tournament," Stoecklin added.

With the end of the season came the end of SIUE's Jake Stauffenberg and Devin Caldwell's career.

"They are two great kids who get to leave, as far as I am concerned, on top," Stoecklin said of his seniors. "The program is better for having them. They have made a positive impact on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. They are just great kids all around."

Stoecklin admitted that reaching the Conference Tournament was a goal for the program, but emphasized that his team was not satisfied.

"I am happy to make the tournament, but I am not content," he said. "I expected more. We expect to get back next year and go deeper in this thing."