MURRAY. Ky. – For the second game in a row, Murray State first baseman Ramsey Scott ended a game against the Cougars. Scott's RBI-single capped off a five-run ninth inning for the Racers as Murray State defeated SIUE baseball 9-8 to win the series 2-1.
The Cougars fell to 1-2 in Ohio Valley Conference play and 5-8 overall. Murray State improved to 9-7 overall and 2-1 in OVC action.
"Winning in league play is difficult," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "We're finding out on back-to-back days that you have to be able to finish late in games to have that opportunity to win."
The Racers scored five times on five hits and two walks in the bottom of the ninth against SIUE relievers Mason McReaken and Collin Baumgartner. Baumgartner (0-1) surrendered three hits and took the loss. McReaken, who hadn't given up even a hit this season, allowed four runs on three hits over 1.1 innings of work.
"We didn't finish, plain and simple," Lyons said. "Whether because of an inability to throw strikes or an inability to execute pitches, we had a four-run lead going into the ninth inning and couldn't finish."
The Cougars scored eight runs on a season-high 13 hits and never trailed until the end of the game. The Cougars scored three times on three hits in the first inning to open the game. Jared McCunn drove home two in the first and Brock Hammit added an RBI-hit. Peyton Cordova-Smith doubled to plate two runs in the second inning. The Cougars added a run on an error in the third inning and led 6-2 through three innings.
The Racers added single runs in the first, second and fourth innings.
Brock Weimer singled to drive home a pair of runs in the seventh to stretch the Cougars' lead to 8-3.
Weimer and Hammit each were 3-5. Cordova-Smith was 2-5.
"The bats did show some signs of life this weekend," Lyons said. "Today our 3-4-5 hitters had eight hits and accounted for quite a few of our runs and that is good to see. We want that to continue moving forward."
Kenny Serwa started the game for the Cougars and tossed five innings. He allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out five.
"Kenny gutted it out," Lyons said. "He did not have his best stuff. He was giving up some hits but found a way to keep them to a minimum through five.
Brock Fulkerson worked two innings out of the bullpen for the second time in the series. He allowed a run and struck out two.
"What can you say about Brock Fulkerson," Lyons said. "He did another great job out of the pen giving us two strong innings. That's a positive."
Scott finished 3 for 6 for the Racers with a pair of RBIs.
The Cougars will next play Tuesday on the road at Saint Louis. SIUE also will face Evansville on the road Wednesday. The home season is scheduled to get underway next weekend.
"Two midweek games will prepare us for the home opener against Tennessee Tech," Lyons said. "You have the defending champs coming in on the second OVC weekend so we'll have our work cut out for us."