EDWARDSVILLE - O'Fallon got a run in the first, then scored a second run in the fourth, thanks to a pair of defensive miscues by Edwardsville, while the Tigers had opportunities in the fifth and seventh innings, but good pitching by the Panthers' David Barker and Alex Tame helped O'Fallon to a 2-0 win over the Tigers in a Southwestern Conference baseball game Thursday afternoon at Tom Pile Field.

The Tigers were held to four hits in the game, as Barker struck out four and Tame came on to get the final two outs to earn the save, with a pair of Edwardsville errors leading to a fourth-inning run that gave the Panthers some insurance. Edwardsville also missed a good chance in the fifth and a second-and-third opportunity in the seventh as Barker kept the Tiger hitters off balance most of the day.

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"I thought Barker was excellent," said Edwardsville head coach Tim Funkhouser. "He made pitches throughout the game and you've got to credit him for that. And I thought they played good defense behind him and took advantage of some things we didn't do as well defensively. We needed to play better, obviously."

Joe Chiarodo started for the Tigers and pitched well, going five innings in giving up the two runs on four hits while fanning six. Alec Marchetto pitched the final two innings and also did well, allowing one hit and striking out one.

"He needs to dominate the zone a little more," Funkhouser said of Chiarodo's efforts. "He throws two non-competitive pitches per at-bat to most hitters. And when he gets to the point where he's throwing maybe one or two an inning, then he's gonna be really good. But he'll continue to work on command within it, but no, he threw well enough for us to win. And if we played better defensively and do anything at the plate, we'd be in a lot better situation."

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The Tigers have now lost two of their last three games, falling to Father McGivney Catholic in the final of the USA High School Invitational tournament in Millington, Tenn., last Saturday before bouncing back with a win on Tuesday in O'Fallon. Funkhouser knows that his team can play much better.

"Yeah, we've got to execute the game," Funkhouser said. "We didn't play the game well at all today. We lost a runner on the basepaths, didn't get down a bunt, didn't hit well with two strikes, and didn't hit well early in the count. A lot of things have caught up with us, kinda threw the ball around a little bit, and didn't make plays in the field. We didn't play the game well; we started 5-0 leading into that (at O'Fallon), and after that, we didn't get much off their pitcher. We had a string of at-bats that haven't been as good. But we'll be better and really, we just need to compete better. We had a lot of pitches within the game that we just didn't take competitive at-bats or have competitiveness throughout. So we'll need to do better at that. If not, we know what the result will be and it won't be something we're pleased with."

The Panthers got their first run in the opening inning as leadoff batter Haidyn McGill singled, went to second on a hot shot hit back to Chiarodo to get the out at first, advance to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Connor Blue. After allowing the opening hit, Chiarodo set down the next seven batters in a row, allowing only a Connor Patton single.

The Tigers had a chance in the third as Lucas Krebs singled, went to second on an errant pick-off throw by Barker and advance to third on a fly-out by Cole Funkhouser. Barker got out out the inning by striking out Chiarodo as O'Fallon led 1-0 after three.

The top of the fourth proved to be problematic with Edwardsville defensively. Xavier Deatherage walked to start the inning, and one out later, advanced to second of a Grant Tebbe single, with both runners moving up on a throw by the shortstop that went into right field. A pick-off attempt by Chiarodo at second went awry, allowing Deatherage to score and Tebbe to go to third, but Tebbe was thrown out at the plate on a good throw by the second baseman on a grounder by Jack Wade to keep the score 2-0 for the Panthers.

Edwardsville had another chance in the fifth when Krebs doubled, but was picked off second to end the inning, then had possibly their best chance in the seventh when Lucas Huebner was hit by a pitch on a full count to lead off and Kayden Jennings drew a walk. Tame came on to pitch after a fly out, with both runners going to second and third on a grounder to the first baseman and Funkhouser flew out to right field to end the game, giving O'Fallon the 2-0 win.

The Panthers are now 9-3 on the year, while the Tigers go to 7-3 and play at Francis Howell in Weldon Spring, Mo., in St. Charles County, this afternoon at 1 p.m., then host DeSmet Jesuit of west St. Louis County next Thursday and host St. John Vianney Catholic Apr. 14, with both games starting at 4:30 p.m., then have a very rare Sunday afternoon game against Jackson, Mo. Apr. 16 at 4 p.m.

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