Saint Louis used a pair of big innings to down Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 17-4 in nonconference action at Simmons Baseball Complex on Wednesday in Edwardsville.
The Cougars fell to 12-21 overall and have lost five straight games. Saint Louis improved to 28-12.
"It was bad baseball all around tonight," SIUE coach Tony Stoecklin said. "It started with our bad pitching and our defense and hitting followed suit."
Jacob Stewart, regularly an infielder, made his first collegiate start on the mound for the Cougars. Stewart pitched into the second inning and allowed five runs on five hits.
"Jacob didn't pitch poorly," Stoecklin said. "He gave up four really cheap hits. He threw strikes and he didn't walk anybody."
Saint Louis scored five times on six hits in the second inning to chase Stewart. Ryan Daniels relieved Stewart and tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out four.
"When I evaluated (Ryan's) stuff it looked pretty good tonight," Stoecklin added. "That's a step in the right direction."
SIUE opened the fourth inning with three straight hits off Saint Louis starter Matt Eckelman. Chase Green doubled to open the fourth inning and then scored on a single by Keaton Wright. Alec Saikal drove in Wright with a double to make it 5-2. Eckelman was relieved after Saikal's double. Parker Guinn moved Saikal to third on a groundout and then Skyler Geissinger drove him home with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.
Saikal led SIUE at the plate. He was 2 for 4 with the RBI and run scored.
Eckelman allowed all three runs on four hits. He struck out two. Because it was a planned short start, Eckelman earned the win to improve to 2-1.
The Billikens broke the game open in the fifth inning against relievers Caleb Wilkerson and Ryan Agnitsch. SLU scored nine times on four hits in the inning. The Billikens were helped by a pair of errors and took advantage of five walks in the inning.
Wilkerson did not retire a hitter. He walked four and allowed five runs, including four earned. Agnitsch finished the inning and settled in to throw two innings in relief. He allowed four runs, one earned, on five hits but struck out two.
"The problem was that fifth inning," Stoecklin said. "That is what destroyed us. At that point it was a 5-3 ballgame."
Brendan Miller allowed a run over two innings of work and struck out five.
"Brendan did well tonight but he needs to show me he can do it when the game isn't a 12-run blowout," Stoecklin said.
Brett Thomas allowed two runs, one earned, on a hit in the ninth. He struck out two.
Braxton Martinez and Jake Henson each had three hits for the Billikens. Henson drove in three runs. James Morisano was 2 for 4 with a four RBIs.
SIUE, 35-11, made a late surge against the Jayhawks, 34-8, but left the bases loaded in the top of the seventh.
The Cougars will return home having taken a Kansas team which has an RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) of 24 down to its final at bat. SIUE's RPI to start the week was 48.
"We're still a work in progress," said SIUE coach Sandy Montgomery. "I hope it gave us a wake-up call about what really makes a difference. It's playing clean on defense and having quality at bats. As the game went on we had some quality at bats."
Alex McDavid put SIUE on the scoreboard first with a solo home run in the top of the second inning off Kansas starter Bryn Houlton, 5-3. McDavid's fifth home run of the season cleared the center field fence.
"I happened to connect for a long one," said McDavid. "I was just trying to do anything to get on base and get something going."
Kansas broke back with a single tally in the bottom of the second when Shannon McGinley scored on an infield error after a single by Briana Evans.
The Jayhawks took the lead in the third inning with a four-run rally against SIUE starter Haley Chambers, now 20-5. All four of the runs for Kansas were run unearned behind a pair of outfield errors. Back-to-back doubles by Shannon McGinley and Erin McGinley provided the biggest hits for Kansas.
SIUE freshman pitcher Baylee Douglass replaced Chambers in the third and allowed just one run over the final 3 2/3 innings.
Douglass, a member of the top 25 watch list for the NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) Division I National Freshman of the Year award, faced a fellow member of the watch list. In Kansas freshman Daniella Chavez's two plate appearances against Douglass, she struck out and fouled out.
"I was really happy for her for that one," said Montgomery. "She threw well. And as far as Chambers, she didn't throw poorly. In the inning with the errors, we gave up back to back hits."
Down 6-1 in the fifth, Tess Eby gave SIUE hope with a leadoff single. After Samantha Jones was inserted as a pinch runner, the senior stole second and moved to third on an infield out. Chambers, who also was the designated player, laced a single to right center to drive home Jones.
SIUE cut the lead to 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth as it took advantage of three walks from Houlton and a run-scoring wild pitch from reliever Alicia Pille. Rachel Keller and McDavid each scored.
The surge continued in the top of the seventh as Chambers delivered a leadoff double to left center, her third hit of the game. Rebecca Gray put runners at the corners with a single to left. Kansas went to its bullpen once again for Sophia Templin, who hit Allison Smiley with a pitch and then wiggled her way out of the inning without giving up a run. Templin earned her first save of the season.
"If there's one thing about this team, it's that we don't give up," McDavid said. "We always have that fight there."
"Overall, I'm not unhappy with how we played except for the errors," added Montgomery.