Feb. 29, 2012
By Scott Gierman
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Southern Illinois baseball team could not climb back after surrendering eight runs in the first inning in a 14-7 loss to Belmont Wednesday evening at E.S. Rose Park. The Salukis (4-4) trailed Belmont (4-4), 8-1 after the first inning and 9-1 after the second inning.
SIU starter Bryan Waldrop recorded only one out before departing with the bases loaded and SIU trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the first inning. For his second start in a row, he was charged with seven runs. However, only three of them were earned. Waldrop walked the first three batters he faced in the game. He his record dropped to 0-2 with the loss.
Reliever Matt Murphy surrendered a pair of hits to allow all three inherited runners to score and surrendered a run of his own, extending the deficit to 8-1 when the first inning concluded.
"You can’t get down 9-1 after two innings and expect to win," SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. "We had a lead in the first and then went out and walked the first three guys so that set the tone. It wasn’t the lone reason. We missed a fly ball and kicked a ground ball in the same inning so it wasn’t the walks alone, but that certainly set the tone."
The closest SIU came was in the seventh inning when a three-run rally cut the lead to 10-7. However, Belmont stormed back in the bottom of the seventh when Matt Beaty hit a grand slam to extend the lead to 14-7.
"I don’t know how," Henderson said, "but we did have a chance in the middle innings. We got the tying run to the plate with the wind blowing straight out. That’s a credit to our kids. We didn’t come to play early, but we did battle from the middle innings on to give ourselves a chance. Then we went out in the seventh and gave up the big inning that put it out of reach for us."
Belmont used 10 pitchers and a total of 23 players in the game. Starter Josh Davis allowed one run in three innings and took the victory. The Bruins entered the game hitting just .159 as a team on the year but broke out for 15 hits in the game. This marks the fifth time in the last six games that SIU has surrendered 13 hits or more.
"Our pitching has to get better," Henderson said. "We have a few guys who are throwing well, but we can’t compete with only five pitchers. There are guys who we have to count on who absolutely have to get better. They can’t throw belt high fastballs and expect to get hitters out. We just didn’t pitch tonight."
Trailing 9-1, the Salukis loaded the bases with no one out in the top of the fourth inning but only managed one run on Derek Trovillion’s sacrifice fly. They cut the deficit to 10-4 with a two run rally in the fifth inning, highlighted by Jordan Sivertsen’s RBI triple.
Chris Serritella hit his second home run in as many games to put SIU in front, 1-0 in the first inning. It was the Dawgs only lead of the game.
The threat of heavy thunderstorms pushed the first pitch back an hour, and a light rain fell through much of the later innings. Play paused briefly in the seventh inning following Beaty’s grand slam when the rain turned into a downpour.
SIU will play in the Brighthouse Invitational in DeLand, Fla. this weekend with the first game scheduled for noon Central Time against Georgia State. Cody Forsythe will make the start for the Salukis.