Baseball takes series-opener against Northern Illinois, 9-4

    Mark Kelly extended his hitting streak to seven games against Northern Illinois Friday

    Mark Kelly extended his hitting streak to seven games against Northern Illinois Friday
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    March 2, 2007

    Box Score

    By Jeff Honza

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Scott Elmendorf, Adam Hills and Mark Kelly combined for nine hits, five runs scored and seven RBI to lead Southern Illinois University (8-3) to a 9-4 win over Northern Illinois (1-3) earlier today at Abe Martin Field.

    Elmendorf, Hills and Kelly keyed a Saluki offense which posted double-digit hits for the second-straight game.

    SIU, winners in each of its last seven games, overcame an early 2-0 deficit after NIU plated a pair of unearned runs in the first.

    Kelly led off the fourth inning with a solo home run to tie the game at 2-2 before SIU rallied for one run in the sixth, four more in the seventh and two others in the eighth.

    A native of Hanover Park, Ill., Kelly homered for the first time in his career, and as a result, became the second Saluki to lead off the fourth inning with a first-pitch solo home run in as many games.

    "I got a good pitch to hit, and fortunately, I was able to hit it out," said Kelly.

    Two innings later, SIU took its first lead of the game when Hills singled and came around to score with the help of back-to-back two-out hits by Chris Crank and Aaron Roberts.

    It was then in the seventh, where SIU dismantled the Huskies' pitching.

    NIU starting left-hander Matt Jernstad gave up a one-out double to Tyler Lairson and walked Kevin Koski.

    Jernstad exited the game and was relieved by Dan Nykiel, who gave up a first-pitch run-scoring single to Elmendorf.



    Nykiel gave way to Brandon Copp, who allowed a first-pitch two-RBI double to Hills.

    Immediately after that, Andy Deain took the mound and gave up a single to Kelly. Dean Cademartori followed with a sacrifice fly to give SIU a 6-2 lead.

    Adam Holdenrid, the fifth Husky pitcher to enter the game, walked both Michael Finigan and Koski before issuing a two-out, two-RBI double to Elmendorf.

    Danny Reed's two-out, two-run home run narrowed the gap to 9-4 in the ninth.

    Jordan Powell evened his record at 2-2 after allowing four hits and striking out a career-high eight in 6.1 innings of work. Powell also tossed five shutout innings and retired nine-straight between the first and fourth innings.

    "I have felt a lot more comfortable and confident in my last two starts," said Powell. "I feel like I am in a good groove right now."

    Jernstad suffered his first loss of the season after giving up nine hits and five runs in 6.1 innings. He also struck out two.

    Elmendorf (3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B), Hills (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B) and Kelly (3-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, HR) combined to hit .643 (9-for-14) with three extra-base hits at the top of the Saluki lineup today.

    SIU, which out-hit NIU, 13-6, has now scored 34 of its 55 runs this season in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

    The never-say-die Dawgs have now come from behind to win seven games in a row.

    "I think we still need to clean some things up on defense," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "But, other than that, we are playing well right now."

    SIU and NIU resume their series tomorrow at 1 p.m., CST. Sophomore right-hander Cody Adams (3-0) will start on the hill.