COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – SIUE scored seven unanswered runs Sunday to earn a 7-3 come-from-behind win over Tennessee Tech at Bush Stadium. The Cougars won the series and have won three consecutive Ohio Valley Conference series.
SIUE is now 8-1 in the OVC and 8-10 overall. Tennessee Tech dropped to 10-11 overall and 4-5 in the OVC.
"We showed a lot of toughness, a lot of character, and a lot of will to find a way to get it done," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "Even without our starter giving us a quality start, we still found a way to get the job done and that's what winners do and that's the way we're playing."
Tennessee Tech first baseman hit a two-run home run in the first inning and Jake Farr picked up an RBI single in the second inning to put the Golden Eagles up 3-0. SIUE starter Mike Miller lasted just 1 2/3 innings. The three runs came on just two hits. He walked one and struck out one.
SIUE got its first run of the game in the top of the third. Mario Tursi singled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a fielder's choice and an error. Collin Book drove in Tursi with a single to cut the advantage to two runs.
The turning point in the game may have come in the third inning with Tennessee Tech leading 3-1.
TTU catcher Jordan Hopkins was on second base when Anthony El Chibani sent a base hit through into left field.Nick Lombardo came up throwing as Hopkins tried to score. As Hopkins came to the plate, he collided with SIUE catcher Parker Guinn, who held on the ball despite being knocked off his feet.
Stoecklin argued that Hopkins shouldn't be allowed to stay in the game after not sliding. Stoecklin was ejected from the game as a result of the argument. The Cougars seemed to play more energized following the confrontation.
"I do think it fired the guys up, but that was not my intention in getting ejected," Stoecklin said. "My intention was not to get ejected. My intention was to convey the safety of my player. That's at the forefront of my thoughts every game."
Agnitsch tossed 4 1/3 innings allowing five hits and striking out two to improve to 2-0. Malach tossed the final three innings allowing three hits and striking out three for his team-leading third save this season.
"I can't say enough about the bullpen," Stoecklin said. "You go seven-plus innings and no runs. That's doing your job, plus some."
Meanwhile SIUE pulled within a run the fourth inning. Dustin Woodcock and Alec Saikal opened the inning with back-to-back hits. Skyler Geissinger pushed a sacrifice bunt to right side of the infield to advance both runners into scoring position. Austin Verschoore worked a lengthy at-bat into an RBI-groundout to make it 3-2.
The Cougars took the lead for good with a three-run sixth inning. TTU starter Travis Moths walked Woodcock and then surrendered a hit to Saikal before leaving the game. Geissinger greeted reliever Cain Sloan with an RBI double to the gap in left center to tie the score 3-3. Verschoore singled for his second RBI of the game which put the Cougars in front 4-3. Tursi followed a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.
Guinn connected for his OVC-leading sixth home run of the year in the ninth for the final margin.
"We manufactured runs today for the most part," Stoecklin said. "We executed well on offense up and down the lineup. When the wind' blowing in a little bit and it's a tough day to score you have to find a way to move guys around."
Saikal finished the day 3 for 4. Book and Woodcock each had two hits.
Chambers was 2 for 5 with the homer and two RBIs to lead Tennessee Tech.
SIUE returns home to begin a five-game home stand. The Cougars will play host to Indiana State Tuesday in a 6 p.m. game at Simmons Complex. Evansville will come to town for a Wednesday night contest and Southeast Missouri is in Edwardsville for the weekend OVC series.
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