The Bears baseball team advanced to 1-0 in its three-game series on Friday with their 5-4 victory over the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars due to a number of base by balls.
In addition to the win, the Cougars finished with six hits and zero errors while the Bears finished with three hits and two errors. The Cougars outnumbered the Bears in strikeouts 8-7 and hits 6-3.
Six of the Bears strikeouts came from senior pitcher Evan Cox and the other from junior pitcher Blake Payne.
“I think I just need to let my defense work. I need to be a little bit more comfortable out there. I got a little rattled and they got off little hits and they weren’t solid contact.” Cox said. “I think that might have gotten to me a little bit. If I can keep an eye on myself and let my defense work; I know they’re good and I know their bats are going to put some runs on the board so I think we’ll get it done if I can just get my confidence up I’ll be alright. I just need to remind myself that they’re behind me and they can make all the plays out there that they can get too. They’re great defensively so I just need to let them work as much as I can.”
Junior center fielder Jordan Getchell had one hit out of two bats along with senior short stop Kyle Prevett making one out of three at bats and Michael Pair making one out of two at bats.
“I thought we came out, I don’t know if it was nerves or whatever, but the first three or four innings we were kind of passive at the plate,” coach Allen Gum said. “It may have been the pitcher. It looks like he was locating his fastballs on both sides of the plate, keeping us off balance. We always talked about we need to be good offensively. You always got to be good at offense and of course pitching and defense.”
The game opened with a fly out in the Bears’ outfield on the first pitch. The top of the first inning ended with Cox getting his first strikeout of the game.
The first hit of the game didn’t come until the top of the fourth when Cougars’ sophomore second baseman James Vazquez hit a single up through the left side. Vazquez’s hit was followed by the first score of the game by the Cougar’s freshman designated hitter Devin Caldwell.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Prevett makes the first hit for the Bears. The first score marked on the board came from a sacrifice bunt from junior right fielder Greg Noble. Getchell ties the game at 2-2 with a baseline grounder down third base. To take the lead in this inning, a sacrifice fly was hit by Pair.
The Cougars scored another two runs in the top of the sixth inning, taking the lead with a sacrifice fly.
The Bears regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning 5-4 due to base by balls and a bean ball as the bases were loaded. Though the Bears did not score another run with the bases loaded, the defense held the Cougars from scoring, leading the Bears to their victory.