SIUE pitcher P.J. Schuster

EDWARDSVILLE SIUE pitchers P.J. Schuster, Brendan Miller and Zach Malach combined for the Cougars' first shutout of the year Friday. The trio blanked Morehead State 2-0 in the opener of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series at Simmons Baseball Complex.

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The Cougars improved to 8-26 overall and 5-14 in the OVC. Morehead State dropped to 21-18 overall and 8-8 in OVC play.

"What a great job on the mound by P.J., B.J. and Malach," SIUE Coach Danny Jackson said. "We had great defense and just a great game all the way around."

Schuster (1-5) allowed seven hits and struck out two to earn his first win of the season.

"P.J. just attacked the strike zone," Jackson said. "He had everything working. They couldn't time him up."

Meanwhile, Morehead State starter Matt Anderson (5-2) tossed his first complete game of the year only to have it come in a loss. Anderson struck out 11 over eight innings. He allowed the two runs on seven Cougar hits.

"Guys were both out there attacking the strike zone and working with great pace," Jackson added. "And what phenomenal defense we had on both sides."

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SIUE turned three double plays in the game, including two in the first three innings.

The Cougars scored the only runs of the game with four two-out hits in the fifth inning. Mario Tursi hit a tapper up the third base line which rolled to a stop in fair territory before Kailer Smith singled into right field. Alec Skender then reached on an infield hit over the pitcher's mound to load the bases.

"That's why you keep playing the game," Jackson said. "Eventually things will fall your way. We hit a bunch of balls hard early that are right at people and then we hit a couple of 'nubbers' that go for base hits."

Logan Andersen followed with a line drive into center to score a pair of runs. Andersen finished 2 for 4 with the two RBIs and extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

"What a big two-out with runners in scoring position by Logan Andersen," Jackson said. "He's taking quality at-bats."

Miller pitched the eighth inning for the Cougars allowing a single hit. Malach earned his third save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning. Morehead State leftfielder Will Schneider flied a ball into the right-center field gap to open the inning, but SIUE centerfielder Dustin Woodcock sprawled out to make a diving catch.

"Dustin Woodcock's catch in the ninth inning is a game-saving catch," Jackson said. "If that gets in the gap it's a triple."

The Cougars and Eagles will play the second game of the series Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

 "I love the energy and the way we went about everything tonight," Jackson said. "I couldn't ask for more and I hope they bring that same approach tomorrow."

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