SLU loses lead in ninth, misses out on chance to sweep SIU Edwardsville

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HAMMOND, La. – A one-run lead slipped away in the ninth inning for Southeastern Louisiana after an error allowed SIU-Edwardsville to rally for a 7-4 win in Sunday’s series finale at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.

Southeastern (2-1) missed an opportunity to wrap up the victory. Shortstop Brennan Breaud bobbled a bases-loaded ground ball that would have been the final out, allowing SIUE (1-2) to tie the game, 4-4.

The next batter, first baseman Peyton Cordova-Smith, drove an 0-1 offering from Evan Hileman (0-1) into the gap in left-center field for a bases-clearing double.

Southeastern threatened to send the game to extra innings.

Pinch-hitter Nathan Pilutti, a junior from Destrehan, Louisiana, drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the ninth and was balked to second base by Cougar reliever Mason McReaker (1-0). With one out, McReaker issued back-to-back walks to Breaud and second baseman Cody Grosse, loading the bases for preseason All-American Taylor Schwaner.

McReaker induced a double-play ground ball to third base off the bat of Schwaner to end the game.

Southeastern also lost a one-run lead earlier in the game. Drew Avans, a senior from Alabaster, Alabama, drove in Grosse with a first-inning single, but the Cougars responded with a two-out, run-scoring double in the second to tie the game.

SIUE added single runs in the third and fourth off Lion starting pitcher Mason Knopp, building a 3-1 lead.

An RBI single to left field off the bat of Kyle Schimpf brought Southeastern within a run in the sixth, plating Grosse, but the Lions missed opportunities by stranding runners in scoring position during the second and third innings.

With a pair of runners on in the sixth, a double play ended the inning.

Freshman pitcher Will Warren entered the game in the seventh, providing a spark by fanning the side in order. The Lions responded by taking back the lead after the stretch.

Cougar reliever Collin Baumgartner hit pinch-hitter Evan Pace with a pitch to open up the bottom half of the inning and then balked him to second base. After right fielder Mike Taylor drew a walk, first baseman Scottie Sanders laid down a text-book sacrifice bunt to third to advance both runners into scoring position.

Breaud drove a one-out single up the middle, giving Southeastern the 4-3 lead it would take to the ninth. After stealing second, Breaud was stranded in scoring position.

McReaken picked up the win, working the final 2.1 innings. He did not allow a run despite walking five batters.

Hileman was saddled with the loss, allowing four unearned runs in his lone inning of work. The senior from St. Rose, Louisiana, allowed three hits and one walk, striking out one.

Southeastern starter Mason Knopp worked six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk. He fanned five in his Lion debut. Warren allowed one hit and fanned five in two scoreless innings.

Gross (2-for-4) and Schwaner (2-for-4) led Southeastern at the plate.

The Lions return to action at 6 p.m. Tuesday, hosting Alcorn State at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.

Single game tickets can be purchased online at or by contacting the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466.

All home games are available except the matchup with No. 9-ranked LSU. Tickets to that game will only be available for purchase by Diamond Club members and current baseball season ticket holders until Feb. 21.
General Admission tickets for Lion home games are $9 for adults and $6 for children (ages 3-12). Tax is included in the price of admission. Southeastern students are admitted free with a valid university ID card.

Students and campus organizations can earn points toward their Lion Up Loyalty account at any home game by checking in on the mobile app while in attendance.

Fans interested in joining the Diamond Club can do so by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at (985) 549-5091.

Fans are encouraged to follow @Lions_Baseball on Twitter, @SLU_LionsBaseball on Instagram, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel to keep up with the latest on Southeastern baseball.

SIU-Edwardsville 7, Southeastern 4
(Feb 18, 2018 at Hammond, La.)
SIU-Edwardsville…. 011 100 004 – 7 11 0 (1-2)
Southeastern……….. 100 001 200 – 4 8 2 (2-1)
Pitchers: SIU-Edwardsville – Serwa, Kenny; Baumgartner, Collin (6); McReaken, Mason (7) and Pattan, Steven. Southeastern – Knopp, Mason; Warren, Will (7); Hileman, Evan (9) and Wasinger, Daniel; Pace, Evan.

Win-McReaken, Mason (1-0) Loss-Hileman, Evan (0-1) T-2:54 A-1142
HR SIUE – Layton, Jackson (2).
Weather: Cloudy 73, SSE 8 mph
Serwa faced 2 batters in the 6th.

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