Feb. 24, 2006
By Brian Feldt
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Senior first baseman Erik Alvarez went a perfect 4-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI to lead Southern Illinois University (6-1) to its fifth-straight win, a 10-7 victory over Central Michigan (2-2) earlier today at Abe Martin Field.
"Erik had a great game today," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "He made the most of his hits in what I thought was a wild game."
Behind Alvarez's hot stick, SIU matched its best start since 1979 and took a 2-0 series lead.
Although the Salukis' red-hot start is impressive, Callahan continues to downplay the notion that something special could be in the making.
"I've never been one of those guys who tries to project where we are going to be in the next 10 to 15 games," said Callahan.
CMU took an early 2-0 lead in the first, but SIU answered with three runs in the second.
Trailing, 3-2, Noah Lankford's RBI-single tied the game for CMU in the third, but SIU responed with another run in the same inning.
Four consecutive two-out hits, including a three-run homer by Hunter Harrigan then fueled a five-run fifth, as the Dawgs extended their lead to 9-3. Alvarez, Dean Cademartori and Matt Brewer each singled before Harrigan went yard for the second time this season.
CMU made things interesting late in the game when it scored three runs in the seventh and one in the eighth, but the rally wasn't enough, as the Chippewas fell to their second-straight loss.
Jordan Powell (2-1) struck out one and allowed six runs in seven innings to pick up his second win of the season.
Charlie Weber then relieved Powell and immediately caught a bad break in the eighth.
"Charlie wasn't bad," said Callahan. "He's doing a nice job and will pitch in some meaningful games. He got a bad break and you hate to see that for a freshman."
Moments after Weber's walk to Humphrey, Callahan called on Dusty Baker, who escaped the jam.
Baker retired four-straight Chippewa hitters en route to his second-straight save. He got Lankford to ground out in the eighth prior to sitting CMU down in order in the ninth.
"Dusty came in and did what we needed him to do," said Callahan. "He saved the day again."
Alvarez's four hits marked a career-high, as SIU had 12 on the day.
SIU and CMU continue their four-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m., CST.