EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Facing another team at the top end of the Great Lakes Valley Conference standings, Missouri S&T gained a split of its doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Southern Indiana as it took a 9-3 decision to begin the three-game series before USI took game two by a count of 6-1.
The Miners grabbed the lead in the second inning in game one and never relinquished it, as Matt Knickerbocker (Bayfield, CO/Bayfield)singled with one out and scored on a double by Conner Forsythe(Farmington, MO/Farmington). S&T added another run in the third when Cameron Burk (Nacogdoches, TX/Cushing) doubled to open the inning and came around to score when Jason Volkmann (Liberty, MO/Liberty) bunted his way on; a subsequent error on the play allowed Burk to cross the plate.
USI cut the lead in half in the fifth, but the Miners got two in their half of the sixth as Knickerbocker led off with a double and Forsythe reached on an infield hit, which was followed by a squeeze bunt by Kaleb Reid (Smithville, MO/Smithville) that scored Knickerbocker. S&T loaded the bases and got its second run of the frame on a Burk sacrifice fly.
Nathan Kuester's leadoff homer in the bottom of the sixth got the Screaming Eagles back to within two, but the Miners got that run back in the seventh on an RBI triple by Forsythe that scored Knickerbocker. USI scored again in the eighth, but Will Boettcher (Metamora, IL/Metamora) struck out Jayden Beshears to get out of the inning and keep the Miners up by two.
The Miners then proceeded to blow the game open in the ninth, as Matt Gruse (Neenah, WI/Neenah) drew a one-out walk and scored on a double by Tim Lira (Granger, IN/Penn) – who then scored himself on a double by Knickerbocker, as he picked up his fourth hit of the contest. Later in the inning, Drew Aldana (El Paso, TX/JM Hanks) drove in Knickerbocker with a hit and an error on a bunt by Will Hayes(Terre Haute, IN/South Vigo) brought home Forsythe.
S&T outhit the Screaming Eagles 14-8 in game one, as Forsythe and Aldana also had three hits apiece to go with Knickerbocker's four. Luke Marcheschi (Bloomington, IL/Central Catholic) threw the first six innings and allowed just five hits to become the GLVC's first six-game winner on the year.
In game two, USI got a two-run homer from Lucas McNew in the first inning off S&T starter Dalton Erger (Imperial, MO/Seckman), then added to its lead in the fourth as a throwing error when the Miners were trying to turn a double play allowed a run to score. The Screaming Eagles scored three more in the sixth, with the big blow of the inning being Jacob Fleming's two-run single.
The Miners broke the shutout in the seventh when Aldana singled with one out and later scored on a hit by Burk, but S&T was held to six hits by USI hurlers Austin Krizan and Tyler Hagedorn. Erger struck out seven in his 5 2/3 innings of work as the Miner staff posted 11 strikeouts in the contest.
Aldana had two of the Miners' six hits in game two as the Screaming Eagles had a 10-6 advantage in that department.
Missouri S&T (17-8) and Southern Indiana (17-9), who are now tied in the GLVC standings with 10-4 records and are two games behind league leader Quincy, played the rubber game of the series Monday afternoon.