Salukis outlast Nicholls State in 8-7 11-inning win

    Kyle Pruemer earned his first career win with two scoreless innings.

    Kyle Pruemer earned his first career win with two scoreless innings.
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    Feb. 22, 2014

    By Scott Gierman

    Box Score

    THIBODAUX, La. – Southern Illinois extended its winning streak to three games with an 8-7 win over Nicholls State in 11 innings Saturday night at Ray E. Didier Field. The Salukis (4-2) won their first extra-innings game of the year after blowing a 7-3 fifth inning lead to the Colonels (3-4).

    “I could go down a whole list of things we did wrong,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “But it’s all overshadowed by our effort, attitude and perseverance. We could’ve folded the tent after we let them back in it. I’m so proud of the fact that we didn’t quit.”

    Freshman Jake Hand delivered the game-winning single for the Salukis with one out in the top of the 11th inning to score Matt Jones. Jones started the inning with a double off the base of the left field wall. Hand was thrown out trying to advance to second base on the throw home. However, the one run held up.

    “I swung at a 3-1 pitch as hard as I could (on the previous pitch),” Hand said. “I honestly don’t know what pitch he threw me (on the game-winning hit), but I drove it. I was watching the play at the plate, but the go-ahead run will have to do.”

    Tyler Dray tossed a scoreless bottom of the 11th, allowing just a one-out walk, to earn his second save of the season. With his 11th career save, Dray moved into a tie for fifth place on the Salukis’ all-time list.

    Kyle Pruemer earned his first career win for SIU. The freshman threw a scoreless ninth and 10th inning, working out of a jam with two on and one out in the ninth.

    Nicholls State tied the game at 7-7 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Leo Vargas led off the inning with a double to right field. After Kyle Pauly struck out Justin Holt, Philip Lyons singled to center field to plate Vargas and knot the score. Derek Fogel replaced Pauly and got a strikeout and a popout to keep the score tied after eight innings.

    The Colonels threw everything they had at Southern, using seven pitchers and five position players off their bench in the game.

    “It was a tough game to manage because Nicholls State pinch hit so many times and made so many changes.” Henderson said. “It was hard to get into a flow with what we were doing with our bullpen. If we had it to do over again, I’m not sure I would’ve done it the same way, but our guys still did a good job.”

    The Salukis overcame an early 3-0 deficit and grabbed their first lead with a four-run third inning. With one run across already in the inning, J.C. DeMuri hit a bases loaded single to right field to score Jones. The tying and go-ahead runs came home when the ball one-hopped Nicholls right fielder Keith Cormier’s glove.

    SIU added three more unearned runs in the top of the fourth to extend the lead to 7-3. The rally was highlighted by Donny Duschinsky’s two-run triple to right field.

    After a shaky start, SIU starter Todd Eaton recovered to finish the fifth inning and leave in line for the win. The senior allowed four runs off nine hits and struck out six 

    “The first couple innings, he was up in the zone,” Henderson said. “Then he found it and got into a bit of a rhythm. He started getting his off speed stuff down in the zone. I’m proud of him for sticking with it until he found it and getting us as deep as he did.”

    Southern will try to extend its winning streak to four games when it concludes play in the Carmel Inn Showdown on Sunday against Louisiana Monroe. First pitch is scheduled for noon Central Time.