ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis and Southern Illinois Unversity Edwardsville did all of the scoring in the first five innings Tuesday, and it was SLU which came out on top 9-4 in nonconference baseball at the Billiken Sports Complex.
The Billikens took advantage of three Cougar errors, scoring five unearned runs to improve to 19-11. SIUE has now lost seven in a row, and eight of its last nine games. The Cougars are 10-20 overall.
"It was a collective effort tonight," SIUE Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "It was a pretty poor showing. We played back on our heels on defense again."
Trailing 1-0 after an inning, the Cougars took a 3-1 lead on one swing of the bat by Jacob Stewart in the second inning. Alec Saikal and Devin Caldwell each singled before Stewart connected on a 3-1 pitch for a three-run home run.
Saint Louis got a run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Alec Sole to make it 3-2. The Billikens regained the lead with a three-run bottom of the third, capped off by a two-run single by Sole.
Sole finished 4 for 5 with four RBIs to lead Saint Louis.
Billiken catcher Colton Frabasilio added a three-run home run of his own in the bottom of the fourth to push the SLU lead to 8-3. Sole added his third RBI of the game with a single to make it 9-3.
SIUE starter Mike Miller (0-2) allowed all nine Saint Louis runs on 10 hits. Only four runs were earned. He walked five and struck out three.
The Cougars added the final run of the night in the fifth. Nick Lombardo was hit by a pitch to start the fifth inning and then stole second base. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Lombardo scored on a sacrifice fly by Chase Green.
Cougar reliever Caleb Wilkerson was outstanding for the Cougars. Wilkerson tossed 4 1/3 inning of scoreless relief. He allowed just a single hit, and struck out six hitters.
"Caleb did a nice job," Stoecklin added. "He came in and shut them down. He is capable of doing that often."
The Cougars managed just six hits against five Billiken pithers. Starter Josh Moore was credited with the win despite throwing just three innings. He allowed three runs on three hits. He struck out four and walked three.
Caldwell was the only SIUE player with more than a single hit. He was 2 for 4 with the run scored.
The Cougars continue a busy week returning home to play host to Bradley Wednesday night at Simmons Complex.
"That's the beauty of baseball," Stoecklin said. "You play (nearly) every day; you get a chance to redeem yourself."