Baseball tames Cougars in extra innings

Michael Harms, Courier Staff

The one game road trip did not stop the leathernecks from fighting for the win. Western Illinois took a break from Summit League play and took a trip down to Edwardsville, Illinois and took on the Southern Illinois Cougars on Wednesday and had a tough fight.

The bats started hot in the first as junior infielder Deion Thompson got on base and then junior outfielder Drue Galassi decided to send one over the center field fence early making it 2-0. This hot start was continued by senior infielder Mitch Ellis who has not seen action since the first week of the season. Back from injury Ellis was eager to get the bat on the ball and Ellis hit a double down the line to put one more on the board. Coming back from action the senior third baseman had been sidelined for 44 days and was tired of missing out.

“It’s been a long time of sitting around waiting and watching,” Ellis said. “I just wanted to be the one to get it done.”

Get it done he did as he went 2-4 on the day with one walk, putting the Leathernecks up by three in the third put them in a good place to pull ahead, but the Cougars had other plans.

They fought back in the bottom of the third as they got on base and found a way to put them home as senior Jared McCunn doubled to right center bringing in one and then junior Brock Weimer singlesdscoring McCunn. Western had a small lead up until the bottom of the eighth inning where SIU-E first got on base with a triple, then put a man on the other corner. Then Jordan Ross singled, and on a fielder’s, choice brings in one run. With the game tied it came down to the wire.

Freshman infielder Dillon Sears had the Cougars holding their breath as he got on base then stole second, the Leathernecks couldn’t capitalize on the scoring position and did not bring them in as they ended the top of the ninth scoreless needing to hold strong. The ninth did not hold promise for the Cougars after two straight strikeouts they ended the inning on a ground out.

Moving into extra innings, the man who missed the action showed up once more. Ellis decided to be the man today as with one man on, he sent the ball down the line scoring a run.

“Coach [Brownlee] wanted me to bunt, but I wanted to get the hit out and win the game,” Ellis said following the game.

The senior’s plans worked out in the end as he did end up winning the game for Western as the Cougars failed to get a run in the tenth.

The Leathernecks are back in action for a three-game stretch playing Omaha starting this Friday, April 13.