Feb. 20, 2011
By Jason Clay
RUSTON, La. - Senior center fielder Chris Murphy tied his career-high with four RBIs and the Southern Illinois baseball team registered 15 hits in a 10-6 victory over Nicholls State on Sunday at J.C. Love Field.
The Salukis conclude the Louisiana Tech Classic with a 2-1 record and this marks just the fifth 2-1 start to a season for SIU in the last 20 years.
"It was a great team effort and I've never been more proud of our group," interim head coach Ken Henderson said. "We had a ton of two-out RBIs today and if someone had a bad (at-bat), the next guy that came up would pick him up. It was just a great team effort."
Murphy led the Saluki offensive, as he was 3-for-5 with a double, stolen base and one run scored to go along with his four driven in. He was one of six Salukis that had multiple hits on the day.
Donny Duschinsky, Kollin Dowdy, Blake Pinnon, Jordan Sivertsen and Brian Bajer all had two hits. Sivertsen pounded a two-run double in the eighth and Pinnon was 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and one driven in while making his first appearance of the season.
Bajer set a new career-high by scoring four times and he was 2-for-3 with an RBI at the plate.
Saluki freshman Todd Eaton (1-0) recorded the victory in his first career start. He lasted six innings, scattering seven hits and allowing three runs. He struck out five Colonel batters in the game and did not give up a single walk.
Nicholls State starter Brian Arceneaux (0-1) picked up the loss. He gave up five hits and four runs in 3.2 innings. The Colonels finished with 12 hits in the game, but the Salukis got them to strand eight on-base.
"We've faced a lot of adversity this weekend, but we are playing hard," Henderson said of the opening weekend. "To win two out of three is huge, but more importantly it's the way we played. We played hard and yeah, we made some mistakes, but they are all things that we can clean up. Our effort and energy level was tremendous."
Southern Illinois struck first in the third inning off an RBI double from Murphy.
The game was moving at a rapid pace early on, as both starting pitchers established a quick rhythm. Eaton retired the first 11 batters he faced in the game, but a two-out single from Scott Moseley got the Colonels their first base runner in the fourth.
Moseley stole second and then Beau Faulk drove him in on a single to tie the game at one.
Pinnon, in his first at-bat of the season, doubled down the left-field line to start the bottom of the fourth for SIU. A single from Dowdy and then a walk by Nick Johnson loaded the bases up for Southern with no outs.
After Arceneaux recorded a strikeout, Bajer's sacrifice fly plated one run, a wild pitch scored another and then Wes Neece drove in the third run of the inning on a double over the center fielder's head.
The big inning put Southern up 4-1, but Nicholls State cut that lead down by two in the top of the fifth. Blake Bergeron led off the inning with a solo homer to left and Bear Comer added a two-out RBI single.
Eaton was able to get through the sixth with the 4-3 lead. His fifth strikeout of the game on Mace Krol prevented Faulk from scoring from second to end the sixth inning.
Bajer doubled off the left-field wall to start the bottom of the sixth and two batters later Murphy drove him home with a hard grounder off Colonel pitcher Ryan Norton. After Murphy stole second and Donny Duschinsky walked, Pinnon drove home Murphy on a single to left to give Southern Illinois a 6-3 lead.
Murphy struck again with his bat in the seventh. His third hit of the game plated two and upped SIU's lead to 8-3.
Two Saluki errors in the eighth allowed Nicholls State to score three runs and cut Southern's lead down to 8-6.
Snyder entered in the eighth with one out and a runner on second. He got SIU out of any further trouble with a strikeout and a soft ground out to second.
Sivertsen got two of the runs back for SIU with a double in the eighth and Snyder kept Nicholls State off the scoreboard in the ninth to preserve the win.