EDWARDSVILLE – SIUE starter Tyler DeLong tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings Tuesday to lead SIUE to a 7-0 win over Eastern Illinois in the opener of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series at Simmons Baseball Complex.

DeLong tied his career high with nine strikeouts, while the 7 2/3 innings set a new career mark. The right0-hander did not allow a hit through the first 6 2/3 innings.

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"What a great start by Tyler DeLong," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "He got through the first couple of innings with some deep counts and a high pitch count, and then he settled in and made some great pitches to give us the start we needed to get this weekend going."

Hayden Cooper pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to preserve the shutout.

"Cooper did a nice job in closing it out," Lyons added. "And he'll be able to come back this weekend and help us again."

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SIUE put up 13 hits, just two of which were extra-base hits.

"We had a good base-hit approach," Lyons said. "This was a really clean game. We were able to capitalize when we had the chance.

Kyle Ratliff opened the scoring with a two-out base hit in the third to drive home Brennan Orf. Ole Arntson and Josh Ohl had RBI-hits I the sixth inning before Drew Mize drove in two with a two-out single up the middle.

Orf tripled to start the seventh and scored on single by Brady Bunten. Ohl then doubled to start the eighth, advanced on a groundout and scored on a single by Chase Bloomer.

"One of my highlights came in the eighth inning," Lyons said. "Get a double, get him over, get him in. It was good baseball. It was guys grinding out at-bats and we got some big RBIs. Overall, it was a really solid win and a good start to the series."

The Cougars and the Panthers continue the series with a 5 p.m. game Friday at Simmons Complex.

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