USI loses momentum, earns split with McKendree - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

USI loses momentum, earns split with McKendree

LEBANON, IL (WFIE) -

The University of Southern Indiana baseball team and McKendree University split a doubleheader Saturday afternoon in Lebanon, Illinois. The Screaming Eagles held on to win the opener, 7-6, but lost a pair of three-runs leads in the nightcap in dropping a 9-8 decision in extra innings.
 
USI saw its record go to 20-14 overall and 9-5 GLVC, while McKendree ends the day with a 13-21 mark, 5-9 GLVC.
 
USI sophomore leftfielder Drake McNamara (Mt. Vernon, Indiana) hit a pair of home runs and junior right-hander Colin Nowak (Carol Stream, Illinois) struck out a season-high seven batters as the Screaming Eagles survived a rough ninth inning in a 7-6 win over the Bearcats in game one.
 
McNamara, who took over the USI team lead with four home runs in 2016, blasted a two-run shot to center field in the second inning to get the Eagles offense going in the opener. The two home runs also were the first round trippers for McNamara since hitting blasts against Augusta University and Georgia College in back-to-back games March 8 and 9 in the Perfect Pitch Spring Swing.
 
After McNamara put the Eagles up 2-0, USI would add one more in the second for a 3-0 advantage before scoring two more in the fourth, one in the fifth on McNamara's second home run of the day, and one in the eighth to seal the victory.
 
In addition to McNamara's offensive attack, senior first baseman Andrew Cope (Evansville, Indiana) posted three hits and senior shortstop Kyle Niemeier (Evansville, Indiana) picked up a pair of hits. Niemeier, who finished with three hits in both ends of the doubleheader, extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
 
Nowak (3-2) picked up his third win of the season in his eight innings of shutout work. He scattered six hits and five walks, while striking out a season-high seven McKendree hitters.
 
Junior right-hander Nick Coudret (Newburgh, Indiana) posted his team-high third save of the year as he ended McKendree's six-run ninth-inning rally with the tying run on third base. Coudret, the Eagles fourth hurler of the ninth, got the final three outs, including a pair of strikeouts.
 
In the nightcap, McKendree erased a pair of USI three-run leads and won 9-8 on a walk-off home run in the ninth inning. Bearcat rightfielder Ryan Cates hit the game-winning shot off of Eagles' senior right-hander Alex Holder (Princeton, Indiana) (2-4) with one out in the second extra frame.
Offensively in the nightcap, Niemeier and senior third baseman Trent Gunn (Tell City, Indiana) drove in two runs each in the loss. Senior rightfielder Kyle Kempf (Evansville, Indiana) and senior catcher Ryan Bertram (Zionsville, Indiana) added to USI's offensive attack with four and three hits, respectively, in the nightcap.
 
USI had led by as many as three runs twice, 3-0 and 8-5, before McKendree rallied for the win.
 
Junior right-hander Lucas Barnett (Sellersburg, Indiana) started and picked up no decision in six-plus innings of work. Barnett allowed eight runs, five earned, on 10 hits and three walks, while striking out two.
 
USI and McKendree conclude the four-game series Sunday with a noon doubleheader. Following Sunday's action, the Eagles return to the friendly surroundings of the USI Baseball Field for a 10-game homestand, beginning with Oakland City at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
 

Courtesy: USI Athletic Department

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