Baseball ends series vs. EKU on the upswing

The Cougars' senior right-handed pitcher Tyler Hutchinson pitched for over three innings at Sunday's game vs. EKU, ending the game with four strike outs.

The Cougars lost their three-game series against Ohio Valley Conference opponent Eastern Kentucky University after 12-9, 9-1 losses and a 5-2 win to close the series.

Despite a grand slam by senior catcher Brock Weimer during the first game of the series, the third of his career, the team was unable to pull out of the slump created by EKU’s four-run first and sixth innings.

Weimer took home two home runs and a double. Redshirt sophomore Garrett Carmichael and senior outfielder Dustin Woodcock each had a home run, and junior infielder Raul Elguezabal hit a double as well.

EKU gained a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Friday’s starter and right-handed pitcher Collin Baumgartner. Senior right-handed pitcher Tyler Hutchinson relieved Baumgartner and took the loss for the Cougars. The Colonels still managed the defeat despite making nine hits to SIUE’s 12.

“It's disappointing when you feel like you swing the bats well and you come up short the way we did," Head Coach Sean Lyons said after Friday’s game, according to SIUE Athletics.

The Cougars gave away a 9-1 win to the Colonels for the second game of the series. Rain delayed the game by four hours, but that did not stop EKU’s momentum.

Saturday’s starter and left-handed pitcher David Llorens gave up five runs in the fourth inning after EKU went scoreless for the first three. EKU picked up two more runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. The Colonels also bested SIUE in hits 9-6.

SIUE grabbed a lone run in the fourth, hit by freshman outfielder Jack Rigoni.

The final game of the series saw a strong improvement for the team compared to the first two, with the Cougars defeating the Colonels 5-2.

Starter and right-handed pitcher Brian Chandler struggled against EKU’s batters and was replaced by Hutchinson in the third inning, according to Lyons.

“In game three on a Sunday, there’s not much leeway. When you’ve got some fresh arms in the bullpen, you can’t afford to get yourself behind. Brian didn’t have his best stuff, so we had our faith in all our guys out of the pen, and Hutchinson was the one that we called on. He answered the bell,” Lyons said.

Hutchinson threw for over three innings, during which the Colonels didn’t gain any runs or hits. Hutchinson improved his record to 1-1 for the season.

“There was a bases-loaded situation and they needed somebody to get in there and throw strikes. Fortunately, today I was able to get ahead and throw strikes and get us out of that jam and help us find a way to win,” Hutchinson said.

Redshirt junior outfielder Eric Giltz made three of SIUE’s nine hits and earned one of the Cougar’s five runs against EKU’s starting pitcher Brennan Kelly.

“I knew I was right on time with [Kelly’s] fastball. I was just really kind of sitting on my pitches, taking them. He wasn’t really throwing many breaking balls, so it was sitting between that and his change-up,” Giltz said. “Got a couple I was able to get a barrel on and find some open space.”

The Cougars’ record fell to 9-16 overall and 5-7 in the OVC, leaving them in eighth place out of eleven teams. EKU improved their OVC record to 5-4 after the series.

Baseball looks forward to a mid-week game at Bradley University and will face conference opponent Morehead State in a three-game series starting 4 p.m. Friday, April 5 in Morehead, Kentucky.

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