SIUE baseball celebrates a sweep to move into a first place tie in the Ohio Valley Conference. (Photo by Scott Kane)EDWARDSVILLE – SIUE baseball moved into a first-place tie in the Ohio Valley Conference with a doubleheader sweep of Little Rock Saturday at Roy E. Lee Field.

The Cougars won both games in their final at-bat, scoring three times in the bottom of the ninth to walk off with a 9-8 win in game one. A four-run eighth inning in game two, gave SIUE a 13-11 win.

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SIUE improved to 10-7 in OVC play and 18-24-1 overall. Little Rock also is 10-7 in the league and 23-19 overall. Tennessee Tech and Southeast Missouri also are both 10-7 in the league.

"Those were two really good games, back and forth with both teams," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "We're fortunate and proud of the guys with the way we continued to fight all the way to the end, and we came away with two really good wins."

Drew Mize provided the winner in game one, lining a one-out single into right to score Chase Bloomer. Bloomer tied the game when he smashed a two-run double to the gap in left center.

The Cougars trailed 4-0 in the game after a first inning grand slam by Little Rock's Ty Rhoades. SIUE hit three home runs in the game including a solo shot from Ethan Willoughby, a two-run homer by John Stallcup and another solo homer by Mize, who finished with three RBIs in the game.

Garrett Helsel (1-2) pitched 2.2 scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out three.

It was the Cougars who got up early in game two. A three-run home run by Bloomer was the biggest blow in a six-run SIUE first inning. Little Rock battled back, scoring at least a run in every inning from the second through the sixth.

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The Trojans led 11-9 when the Cougars plated four runs in the eighth. Bloomer singled to drive home a run to cut the lead to 11-10. Daniel Gierer tied the game with a single and Lucas Spence singled to left center for the 13-11 score.

Kyle Athmer (3-2) tossed the final 2.2 innings without allowing a run. He stuck out two.

"It was a huge effort by Kyle Athmer on the mound in game two," Lyons added. "You could feel it in the dugout, and guys were saying that if you can put up zeroes here, we believe we can win this game. Fortunately, it came out that way. It was a really big effort out of the bullpen."

Bloomer the game 3-5 with five RBIs and drove in seven total for the day.

"This goes back to how resilient our guys have been, but Chase had punched out in the first three at-bats of the day and then comes up with the big double in game one," Lyons said. "Where you're at right now is all that matters."

Willoughby was 4-5 in game two and 6-8 with two RBIs over the two games combined. Mize was 5-9 with four RBIs over the two games combined.

The Cougars and Trojans will play game three of the series Sunday at Simmons Baseball Complex. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

"You've put yourself in a good situation," Lyons said. "We've been here a couple of times already and now we need to finish. I'm sure it will be a tough battle again."

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