Sam Coonrod allowed one run in six innings but took the loss.
Feb. 28, 2014
MARION, Ill. – Northern Illinois snapped Southern Illinois’ four-game winning streak, blanking the Salukis 1-0 Friday afternoon at Rent One Park. Pitching dominated the day as the Salukis (5-3) failed to advance a runner past second base in the game, and NIU (1-6-1) did it only twice.
Northern scored the lone tally of the game in the second inning. SIU starter Sam Coonrod walked two of the first three batters of the inning, and Brian Sisler drove in Landon Tenhagen with a two-out single to right field. Coonrod ended the inning by striking out Tommy Hook and then retired 11 of the next 14 hitters.
Coonrod had his best outing of the young season but took the loss. The junior allowed one run off two hits in six innings of work. He walked four and struck out five.
“Sam threw well,” Henderson said. “He gave us a chance to win. If you hold them to one run, you should win. I’ll take that (pitching performance) every day.”
SIU, meanwhile could not manage anything offensively against Huskies starter Eli Anderson. He held the Salukis to five hits in seven and a third innings of work and struck out eight.
“You tip your hat to him,” Henderson said. “He was pretty good, but we got ourselves out too many times and didn’t put balls in play to give ourselves a chance.”
The Salukis wasted a couple chances when they did get runners on base. In the fourth inning, Southern had runners on first and second with Donny Duschinsky at the plate when Ryan Casillas was picked off second base to end the inning. In the seventh inning, Cody Daily led off the inning with a single and was picked off first base as Duschinsky struck out.
“We didn’t compete very well,” Henderson said. We struck out nine times, and most of them were looking. We didn’t give ourselves much of a chance to have a good offensive day.”
Matt Murphy kept the Salukis in the game with three shutout innings of relief. The senior allowed two hits and struck out three Huskies. After giving up a double to Chris Divarco to start the top of the ninth, he then hit Tenhagen. However, Murphy managed to pitch out of it with two strikeouts and a groundout back to the mound.
“Murphy did a great job,” Henderson said. “He gave up the leadoff double and didn’t let the runner score. That was huge. That gave our offense another chance.”
The Saluki defense did not commit an error and was terrific for the second game in a row. The defensive effort was highlighted by Jake Welch’s diving stop on a ball hit up the middle in the fifth inning. He was able to get the lead runner at second base for the force out. Ryan Casillas also made a nice sliding grab near the Huskies dugout on a foul ball that nearly got out of play.
“There’s three parts of the game,” Henderson said. “Our pitching was outstanding. Our defense was good. We made all the plays, and we made a couple big time plays. But obviously the story of the day is that we just weren’t good on offense.”