Feb. 28, 2007
By Jeff Honza
MARTIN, Tenn. - Mark Kelly went 5-for-6 with a double, four singles, three RBI and two runs scored to lead Southern Illinois University (7-3) to a 12-5 win over Tennessee-Martin (1-6) earlier today at Skyhawk Field.
SIU posted a season-high 12 runs and 17 hits, but had to come from behind once again to win its sixth game in a row.
Kelly, who extended his hitting streak to six games, became the first Saluki to get five or more hits in a game since teammate Kevin Koski went 5-for-6 at Florida Atlantic on February 12, 2006.
"It's not very often you see someone get five hits in a game," said head coach Dan Callahan. "Today was an example of how hitting can be contagious."
SIU and UTM squared off in a see-saw battle that featured three ties and two lead changes. And, in the end, the Salukis were just too much for the Skyhawks to handle.
The Salukis took a 1-0 lead in the first, but trailed by two after a two-out error by Michael Finigan led to three unearned Skyhawk runs in the second.
Shortly after pulling to within a run in the third, Dean Cademartori ignited a three-run rally with a leadoff homer in the fourth.
Cademartori drove UTM reliever William Blackmon's first pitch more than 385 feet to straightaway center for his ninth career home run.
The lead didn't stand for long, as Lance Renton gave the game its third tie with a two-RBI double in the bottom of the fourth.
Three innings later, Kelly broke a 5-5 deadlock, and the Salukis never looked back.
Kelly began the seventh with a double to right center and came around to score the go-ahead run with the help of a Adam Hills single and sacrifice fly by Cademartori.
It was then in the eighth where SIU busted the game open.
UTM reliever Calen Sutton fell to pieces, issuing two walks and giving up three hits. Also, five of the six Salukis that faced Sutton came around to score.
Roberts and Chris Crank both walked, Koski reached on a bunt single, Kelly delivered an RBI-single and Hills had a two-RBI hit in just one-third of an inning against Sutton.
Cademartori later polished off the rout with a two-RBI double off Chadwick Cameron to push the lead to 11-5.
SIU tacked on one final run in the ninth when Roberts doubled and scored on a one-out single by Elmendorf.
Kyle Catto (1-0) was credited with the win after striking out one in 1.2 scoreless innings of relief.
Catto was one of seven SIU pitchers to take the mound on the day.
"I didn't think our pitching was as strong today and that's why we made as many changes as we did. But, it was still good enough to win," said Callahan.
Blackmon (0-1) suffered the loss for UTM. He struck out three, allowed five hits and gave up the go-ahead run in three innings of work.
Offensively, SIU needed a breakout performance and would get it with several Salukis contributing multiple hits along the way.
Kelly led the charge with a career-high five hits, while Hills and Koski added three apiece. Elmendorf and Cademartori followed with two each.
UTM was led by Chad Green (3), Chris Rezabek (2), Jason Hockaday (2) and Blake Turner (2), who combined for nine of the 12 Skyhawk hits.
UTM (14) and SIU (11) stranded a total of 25 baserunners. The Skyhawks also left the bases loaded in each of the second, eighth and ninth innings.
SIU returns home to host Northern Illinois in a three-game series, beginning Friday at 2 p.m., CST. Jordan Powell (1-2) will open the series on the mound.