Geggus Strikes Out 12, Funkhouser Delivers Game-Winning RBI, Tigers Pull Out 2-1 Win Over Lancers In Key Conference Game
EDWARDSVILLE - Logan Geggus struck out 12 Belleville East batters, including 10 of the first 15 batters he faced, while Kayden Jennings beat the throw to the plate on Cole Funkhouser's fielder's choice grounder to third to give Edwardsville a 2-1 win in a thriller of a Southwestern Conference baseball game Tuesday afternoon at Tom Pile Field.
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The win gave the Tigers at least a share of the SWC championship, with O'Fallon having defeated Collinsville 1-0 in their game, and could possibly win the conference outright with a win in the two teams' second game Thursday in Belleville.
"I feel good," said Edwardsville head coach Tim Funkhouser.
"Our guys did an exceptional job of competing and Logan was real good on the bump. There were times when he didn't even have his best command and he was still able to deal the way he did. The amount of strikeouts that he racked up was very impressive and boy, we saw a lot of pitching on both sides today and we knew that going into the game. But you felt like that this was going to be one of those one-run games and we'd be hoping it would be 1-0 at the end, because we scored first. But that being said, boy, their pitchers make it tough on you. We kept fighting to put ourselves in the position we did at the end and we felt good about (Kayden Jennings) leading us off for that double. That was huge and then, being able to get the job done and moving him over and also get him in."
Lancer pitcher Dylan Mannino was equally as impressive, striking out seven in six-plus innings and kept the Tigers at bay for most of the game.
"Oh, no doubt," Funkhouser said. "Their pitcher's (Mannino) got great stuff and he's got a great feel for what he's trying to do and execution of pitches were consistent. So he made it really difficult on our guys. The execution of pitches on their pitcher's end made it really tough on us."
It was an exceptionally well-played game on both sides that the Tigers can come away with good feelings from, especially with clinching a share of the Southwestern Conference crown.
"Yeah, definitely," Funkhouser said. "You come away with that and to clinch a share of the conference, at least get a share of it. We play again on Thursday and we'll just continue trying to get better for the postseason. That's one of our goals that we had going into the year. So for us to get at least a share of it is something special."
Geggus started out very strong, only allowing two walks in the opening inning while striking out the side in the first two innings and fanning eight of the first 10 batters he faced, also making a great sliding catch of a pop-up in the infield for the third out of the third.
Meanwhile, Mannino was also pitching well to start, allowing a double down the left field line in the first and a walk in the third while fanning two to keep the game scoreless after three.
In the fourth, Geggus allowed his second baserunner when Caleb Guthrie with one out, but struck out Nolan Scneczyn and got Tommy Kramkowski to pop to second to get out of the inning.
In the home half, Riley Iffrig led off with a walk, Caeleb Copeland singled Iffrig to second and Andrew Hendrickson reached on an error by the second baseman to load the bases. Lucas Huebner then hit into a double play, but Iffrig scored to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Geggus ran into trouble after striking out the first two batters in the fifth, starting when Jaden Jones reached on an error and Joe Mandiola singled Jones to third.
Alec Marchetto came in to pitch and hit Pat Mandiola in the back of the head with a pitch to load the bases. Mandiola came out for a courtesy runner, but stayed in the game, but Marchetto, clearly shaken, gave up a walk to Ean DiPasquale to force home Jones, tying the game at 1-1.
Marchetto fought back to get Guthrie to line to third to end the inning, retired the side in order in the sixth and allowed two runners to reach before striking out DiPasquale to end the seventh, the game still tied 1-1.
Jennings led off the Tiger seventh with a double to the gap in right center and went to third on a Lucas Krebs bunt single attempting to sacrifice. Krebs stole second and after Bryce Beyers struck out, Funkhouser hit a slow roller to third, where Jennings slid in under the tag at the plate to score the winning run and give Edwardsville the 2-1 win.
The Tigers are now 23-7, while the Lancers go to 17-11, with Edwardsville hosting Columbia on Wednesday afternoon before facing East in the rematch on Thursday in Belleville, then play at Jersey on Friday afternoon, all games starting at 4:30 p.m.
The Tigers then have a week off before ending the regular season with games at Triad on May 19 at 4:30 p.m. and hosting Springfield in their Senior Day game May 20, starting at 10 a.m.
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