For the second time in two seasons, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s baseball season came to an end at the hands of Jacksonville State at the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.
The Gamecocks defeated the Cougars 8-5 on Thursday at The Ballpark at Jackson.
“In both games we just couldn’t come out loose, and go out and have fun and enjoy the moment,” SIUE coach Tony Stoecklin said. “What I am most disappointed in is that we just wanted the guys to have fun and play as well as they can. For whatever reason we couldn’t do that the last two games.”
SIUE finishes its season at 20-30 overall. Jacksonville State improved to 30-26 and advances to play Friday.
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“We’ve played really good conference baseball the last month and then we come down here and play our worst two games that we have played in a while in league play.”
Keaton Wright got the Cougars off on the right foot with a two-run home run in the first inning, but Jacksonville State answered immediately.
The Gamecocks scored three times on four hits in the bottom of the inning and SIUE never led again.
The Cougars tied the game in the second inning on an RBI single by Denton Reed, but JSU got a run in the bottom of the inning to move in front 4-3.
SIUE tied the game again in the fourth, at 4-4, when Reed scored when Chase Green reached on a two-out error.
Paschal Petrongolo put the Gamecocks up for good in the fifth inning with his seventh home run of the year to make it 6-4 and chase SIUE starter Jarrett Bednar.
Bednar allowed six runs on eight hits over four-plus innings. He walked one and struck out two. He fell to 2-7 with the loss.
Petrongolo finished 3 for 5 to lead JSU.
Jacob Stewart cut the lead to 6-5 with a two-out RBI single in the seventh to score Skyler Geissinger.
Ryan Agnitsch tossed the final four innings for the Cougars allowing two runs on five hits.
The Cougars finished with 10 hits combined. Nick Lombardo, Geissinger, Stewart, and Reed each had two hits for SIUE.
Thursday’s game also marked the end of seven seniors’ careers. Green, Lombardo, Reed, Drew Johnson, Alec Saikal, Brett Thomas, and Parker Guinn all played their final games for the Cougars at the tournament.
“I really love this senior group and I’m going to miss them dearly,” Stoecklin said. “They have been an honor to coach. They have helped us move forward and become one of the better teams in the league. I won’t forget what they’ve done.
“I wish them all the best and I know that each and every one of them will be successful in what they choose in life.”