Baseball ends weekend series vs. Valparaiso with one loss, two wins

Junior Raul Elguezabal swings at Sunday's game as the ball grazes off the top of his bat towards the crowd.

Cougar baseball ended their four-win streak this weekend after a three-game series against Valparaiso. The Cougars lost the first game and won the next two.

The Cougars went into the weekend series hopeful after a 13-3 win against Western Illinois University Tuesday night.

Junior outfielder Eric Giltz took an RBI-triple in the third inning to bring the game out of its tied 1-1 score.

Also in the third, senior catcher Brock Weimer hit a home run over left field, marking it his 31st career home run. Weimer, while satisfied with his own performance, also saw that the team played well in the game against Valparaiso.

“Going into this weekend, we just need to keep the momentum. Our pitcher has been throwing really well, and offense is starting to come together as well. I think if we can keep those two things going we will play well this weekend,” Weimer said.

After the big win against Western Illinois University, Head Coach Sean Lyons said players will continue to practice and sharpen their skills in preparation for the games ahead.

“There are little things, both offensively. The guys are making tweaks to their swings that we’ll continue to work on,” Lyons said after the game against Western Illinois.

Junior infielder Raul Elguezabal had three RBIs in the game on April 15.  Elguezabal said that the game against Valparaiso showed the team’s strengths and what they could do to prepare for the weekend series.

“Offensively, we helped out their pitchers a lot. We could have laid off some pitches out there. Other than that, I think we’re on the right track right now,” Elguezabal said.

The Cougars saw the first game of the weekend series as an 8-0 loss.

According to the SIUE baseball webpage, Valparaiso’s freshman pitcher Jon Tieman pitched six scoreless innings and struck out 12 hitters.

"We came into the game playing well and we ran into a good arm," Lyons said. "They jumped out on us and did a nice job of extending the lead. We just couldn't get anything going."

After the loss on April 19, the Cougars gained their momentum back the next day to defeat the Crusaders in both games on Saturday with scores of 4-3 and 16-6. The Cougars have won six of their last seven games, bringing their record to 15-22.

Sophomore pitcher Collin Baumgartner pitched seven innings in the first game on April 20. Baumgartner struck out five opponents and allowed one run on four hits.

Weimer hit a two-run home run in the first inning, putting the Cougars at a 2-0 lead. The Crusaders came back to tie the game in the top of the eighth but were ultimately defeated when junior infielder Jordan Ross was walked with the bases loaded.

The Cougars took the lead in the first inning of game two followed by two doubles by freshman infielder Brendan Ryan and Weimer.

Junior utility player Justin Perkins hit a home run in the bottom of the second followed by the Cougars scoring six times on two hits in the third, bringing the score to 8-1.

Just two innings later, sophomore outfielder Dustin Woodcock hit a three-run home run to push the Cougars further into the lead.

The Cougars finished the game with a score of 16-6.

“Up and down the line-up guys were putting up good at-bats, and that’s good to see,” Lyons said.

With the games against Western Illinois and Valparaiso being non-conference, the Cougars conference record still stands at 8-10.

The Cougars play at Western Illinois at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, in Macomb, Illinois.  This game will be followed by a weekend series with the first game starting at 4 p.m. Friday, April 26, at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.

 

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