Salukis sweep doubleheader from NIU

    Kyle Pauly picked up his first career win with 3.0 scoreless innings in relief.

    Kyle Pauly picked up his first career win with 3.0 scoreless innings in relief.
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    March 1, 2014

    Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

    Game 1 Box ScoreGame 2 Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

    By Scott Gierman 

    MARION, Ill. – Southern Illinois swept a doubleheader from Northern Illinois by scores of 3-1 and 2-1 in a pair of tight games Saturday afternoon at Rent One Park. With the wins, the Salukis (7-3) have now won six of their last seven games and took two out of three games in the series after dropping a 1-0 game Friday to NIU (1-8-1).

    After giving up an earn run before an out was recorded in the first inning of the first game, SIU did not allow an earned run for the remainder of the doubleheader.

     “I’m proud of our guys for coming back today after a tough loss yesterday and finding a way to grind out two wins,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said.

    In the first game, Jake Hand delivered a pinch-hit RBI single to center field in the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie. Pinch runner Dyllin Mucha scored the go-ahead run from second base, and Ryan Rosthenhausler also scored on the play after NIU centerfielder Landon Tenhagen overran the ball for an error. It was Hand’s second pinch hit to drive in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning or later in the last week.

    “We know he can hit, we just have trouble getting him in the lineup on a regular basis,” Henderson said of Hand, who started the second game of the day at catcher. “He did a great job behind the plate as well, and if he can continue to do that we can find a way to get him in the lineup.”

    Freshman Kyle Pauly earned his first career win for the Salukis in the first game. He faced the minimum in three scoreless innings, allowing only a bunt single by Alex Smith in the seventh. However, Smith was erased attempting to steal second base. Pauly had no difficulty in a 1-2-3 ninth inning when Southern stuck with the middle reliever in a two-run game.

    “Normally we’d go to a closer for the ninth, but he was throwing so well,” Henderson said. “He was filling up the zone. They weren’t getting good swings on him, so we decided to leave him out there and finish it up. He did a great job.”

    The Salukis tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning when Ryan Casillas drew a leadoff walk and Donny Duschinsky drove him home with his second triple of the season.

    NIU struck first when the first three batters of the game singled off SIU starter Todd Eaton. However, Eaton was able to limit the Huskies to a single run in the first inning when he escaped with a bases-loaded double play on a comebacker to the mound.

    Eaton quickly recovered to put together his best outing of the season. He allowed only one hit after the first inning and completed six innings. The senior departed the game with the score tied at 1-1.

    “I think he’s still in transition mode after being a closer for three years,” Henderson said. “Every time out he starts out a little slow and then by the second inning, he finds himself. He got a big double play to end the first and then cruised after that. The difference was that he got the ball down in the zone and his offspeed stuff over the plate.”

    T.J. Schrader took the loss for the Huskies. He relieved Alex Klonowski, who allowed just one run off three hits in six innings of work. Schrader was charged with both runs in the seventh. He faced three Salukis and recorded one out.

    In the finale, Saluki starter Aaron Hauge was nearly unhittable in six scoreless innings to become the first Saluki starting pitcher to win a game this season. Making his second career Division I start, the junior began the game by retiring 11 of the first 12 batters he faced. He struck out six hitters and left with a 2-0 lead.

    “That’s what we expect from him,” Henderson said. “We know he’s capable of that. He got ahead of hitters and pounded the zone. Good things are going to happen when you do that. I’m extremely proud of him. That’s the kind of guy we think he can be.”

    The Huskies made it interesting late. They plated an unearned run in the eighth after SIU botched a double play followed by second baseman Ryan Sabo’s mishandling of a ground ball at second base that would’ve had SIU out of the inning.

    Freshman Kyle Pruemer pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first career save. After going 3-0 to the first batter of the inning, he settled in to close it with the help of great defense.

    “We have a lot of confidence in him, but more importantly, he has a lot of confidence in himself,” Henderson said. “I guarantee he wasn’t rattled. 3-0 didn’t matter to him. He wasn’t going to change his demeanor. He did a great job.”

    The second-to-last two out of the game was recorded thanks to a highlight-reel catch by Parker Osborne, who reached his entire body over the wall in foul territory down the left field line to haul in a fly ball.

    “That was an unbelievable grab by Parker,” Henderson said. “It doesn’t get any better than that. That’s Sports Center material. I thought that ball was way out of play.”

    Pruemer then allowed a two-out single to Alex Smith who was thrown out trying to steal second base to end the game.

    SIU scored its only two runs of the game in the fourth inning. J.C. DeMuri gave the Salukis a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with an RBI double over left fielder Alex Smith’s head. That scored Donny Duschinsky, who reached on a fielder’s choice.

    “For (DeMuri) to step up with that hit and get us the lead was huge,” Henderson said. “That was a good AB for him. We thought with the way we were pitching, if we could get a two- or three-run lead, we’d be in good shape.”

    The Dawgs loaded the bases later in the inning, and Jake Welch added another run with a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 2-0.

    Southern managed just one hit after the fourth inning, but the bullpen held the lead. Chad Whitmer pitched a scoreless seventh and gave way to Derek Fogel after walking the leadoff batter in the eighth. The eighth inning run was charged to Whitmer.

    The Salukis are now 3-1 in run-run games on the season.

    “To win two out of three on a weekend when we were in a little bit of a funk offensively, it was a struggle,” Henderson said. “We had to grind out a run here and there when we could.”