Feb. 25, 2012
By Scott Gierman
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Southern Illinois baseball team evened its series against Western Kentucky with a convincing 10-3 victory Saturday afternoon at Nick Denes Field.
The Salukis (3-3) forced deep pitch counts and got into Western Kentucky’s bullpen early then tallied eight of their 10 runs in the middle innings. SIU drew a total of nine walks in the game.
"It’s a big character win," SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. "To come back less than 24 hours after losing the way we did last night, and to battle and get a good win today shows a lot of character from our kids."
Cameron Maldonado allowed two runs off just two hits to take home his first win of the season. Maldonado did not allow a hit until the fourth inning when he surrendered back-to-back doubles, which cut the SIU lead to 2-1.
"He didn’t have his best stuff," Henderson said, "but his splitty was very good today. It was a true out pitch so he made some big pitches when he had to, but mainly he just battled hard and gave our offense a chance to get things going."
SIU took command of the game by building a 6-1 lead in the fifth. After stranding eight runners in the first four innings, the Salukis rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth when they strung together three consecutive two-out, run-scoring hits. Luke Mottashed and Donny Duschinsky both doubled, and Jake Welch beat out an infield single. Duschinsky’s double scored two runs. The Dawgs packed on three more runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
Justin Hageman took the loss for WKU. He allowed just one run off one hit but issued four walks in three innings of work.
SIU tagged the first man out of the bullpen, Ian Tompkins, for five runs in two innings of work and then scored three runs in two-thirds of an inning against Andrew Zimmerman.
After surrendering four leads on Friday night, the SIU bullpen did not allow any thoughts of a comeback on Saturday. Aaron Snyder allowed one run in two innings, and Sam Coonrod tossed two scoreless frames to seal the win.
"Snyder did a great job after throwing last night so he was a little tired," Henderson said. "Then Coonrod came in and did exactly what you ask a guy to do when you have a seven or eight run lead. He pumped strikes and let them put the ball in play, and we made the plays."
Austin Montgomery drove in three runs including a two-run homer, his second of the season. He leads the team with 11 RBI. Jake Welch, Donny Duschinsky and Chris Serritella each drove in two runs in the game.
SIU took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Montgomery drew a bases loaded walk to score Jake Welch. It was the Salukis’ third walk of the inning. They added another when Chris Serritella drew a bases loaded walk in the fourth. In both innings, the Dawgs left the bases loaded.
The three-game series will conclude on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. Lefty Nathan Dorris will start for the Salukis against lefty Tim Bado for WKU.