Ryan Dineen’s suicide squeeze bunt scored the go-ahead run and No. 5 Eastern Illinois (18-33) scored five runs in the top of the 10th inning to polish off a 10-5 come-from-behind victory over No. 4 Southeast Missouri (30-24) in the first game of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Wednesday.
After EIU overcame a four-run deficit by scoring four runs to tie the game at 5-5 in the top of the seventh, the Panthers had the bases loaded with no outs in the 10th.
Richie Derbak and Zach Borenstein drew back-to-back walks against OVC Freshman of the Year relief pitcher Shae Simmons to start the inning. Alex Gee hit into a fielder’s choice and all runners were safe on a throwing error by Brett Russell. After Cam Strang lined out to short, Dineen perfectly placed his bunt between Simmons and third baseman Casey Jones, allowing pinch-runner Daniel Bracken to score the go-ahead run.
Ben Thoma followed with a double to bring home Gee and Borenstein before Matt Kucharski knocked in two more runs on a base hit to left, giving EIU a 10-5 lead.
Russell managed to get on base via a leadoff single in the bottom of the 10th, but Mike Recchia got Tim Rupp to fly out to right and forced Blake Slattery to hit into a double play.
“We played hard and had some timely hitting,” said Redhawks head coach Mark Hogan. “It was a good game and we had our chances.”
Southeast held a 5-1 lead after six innings before the Panthers mounted their comeback.
The Redhawks plated three runs in the third with the help of a run-scoring double by Kenton Parmley and two-RBI double by Michael Adamson.
Southeast then tacked on another two runs when Rupp doubled home Louie Haseltine and Tierney delivered a RBI-single in the sixth.
Left-hander Jordan Underwood gave the Redhawks a quality start, allowing six hits and three runs in 6.1 innings, but his outing ended in a no-decision. Underwood also struck out four, walked two and threw 116 pitches.
Right-hander Kyle Gumieny relieved Underwood in the seventh. Gumieny struggled with his command, and as a result, issued four walks, gave up two hits and two runs in just 1.1 innings.
Simmons (3-3) was credited with the loss after scattering four hits and giving up five runs in 1.2 innings. He struck out two and walked two, as well.
Recchia (6-6) earned the win for EIU. He allowed three hits, struck out two and walked two in 3.2 scoreless innings.
Offensively, Parmley went 3-for-5 with a run scored, double and one RBI to lead Southeast. Adamson, Rupp and Slattery followed with two hits each. The Redhawks finished with 12 hits on the day.
Thoma (3-for-6, 2 runs, 2B, 4 RBI) and Kucharski (3-for-6, 2B, 3 RBI) combined for six hits, two doubles, two runs scored and seven RBI at the bottom of EIU’s lineup.
Southeast pitchers allowed nine walks on the day which matched a season-high. In addition, the Redhawks committed four errors.
Southeast drops to the loser’s bracket to face the loser of No. 3 Murray State and No. 6 Eastern Kentucky in an elimination game Thursday. The Redhawks, who were initially scheduled to play at 11 a.m., CT, will now play at 12:30 p.m. after electrical issues with the lights at Pringles Park forced Wednesday’s Murray/EKU matchup to be postponed. The Thoroughbreds and Colonels will start Thursday’s action with a 9 a.m. first pitch.