Michael Stalter had four hits, three RBIs and one run scored on Friday
Feb. 26, 2010
By Jason Clay
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. - Friday's series opener between Southern Illinois and Jacksonville State could only be described as a roller coaster.
Thankfully for the Salukis, Nick Johnson and Ryan Bradley came through in the 11th to end the drama with the Dawgs beating the Gamecocks, 17-16 in an 11-inning, four-hour and 36-minute game at Rudy Abbott Field.
The Salukis (1-2) jumped out to a 12-1 lead after two and a half innings, but saw the Gamecocks (1-5) score eight in the third, one in the seventh and five in the eighth to go up by one. With some help from JSU, the Dawgs scored a run on a passed ball in the ninth to force extra innings.
That brought up Johnson who singled up the middle to put Southern Illinois up a run. Senior left-handed pitcher Ryan Bradley walked two Gamecock batters, but in the end struck out preseason first team All-American Todd Cunningham with runners on first and third to end the game and preserve the victory.
Senior right-hander Bryant George picked up the win Friday and Bradley was credited with his first career save. Alex Jones, who came in to pitch in the ninth for JSU, got the loss.
Head coach Dan Callahan said that this was by no means a pretty game, but he was happy for his team to get its first victory of the season.
"It seemed like the last few innings the deck was stacked against us, but we just kept coming back on offense," Callahan said. "The way (Jacksonville State) came back and got after us was very impressive on their part. We gave away the lead and just kept coming back and over the long haul we persevered."
The two teams combined for 37 hits and 33 runs in the game and 11 different pitchers were used (six by SIU and five by JSU).
All nine Salukis in the starting lineup scored at least one run and eight of the nine had at least one hit. Senior shortstop Michael Stalter went 4-for-5 on the day with three RBIs and two runs scored.
First baseman Chris Serritella hit an opposite field, three-run homer in the first and catcher Tyler Bullock had a grand slam in the third when SIU scored seven runs. Aaron Roberts scored four runs in the game and Serritella crossed home three times.
Jacksonville State was led by second baseman Bert Smith, who went 4-for-6 with four runs scored and three driven in. He was one of four different Gamecock hitters that had three or more hits in the game.
Junior left-handed pitcher Randy Hoelscher drew the start for Southern Illinois. He lasted two and two-thirds of an inning before he gave way to Andrew Bever. Hoelscher gave up seven hits and eight runs, seven of which came in the third.
Freshman Cody Forsythe provided four solid innings of relief and kept Southern Illinois with a 14-10 lead heading into the eighth inning. Forsythe only gave up four hits and one run.
George gave up six hits and four runs, which tied for the most he's given up in his career in both categories. However, he did prevent the Gamecocks from winning by getting them to strand six runners on base in the three innings he pitched.
The two teams meet again on Saturday at 1 p.m. Southern Illinois will try to slow down JSU, who has scored 33 runs in its last two games.