March 4, 2007
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Danny Reed's two-out bases clearing double plated three unearned runs in a four-run ninth inning, as Northern Illinois University (2-4) came back to beat Southern Illinois (9-4), 9-6, earlier today in the series finale at Abe Martin Field.
NIU ended a Saluki winning streak of eight or more games for the second year in a row. And, interestingly enough, did it on the exact same day. NIU halted SIU's nine-game winning streak on March 4, 2006.
SIU led 6-5 entering the ninth inning, but a shaky bullpen and crucial error by shortstop Tyler Lairson couldn't hold the lead.
Saluki reliever Daniel Wells hit Pat Minogue with a pitch to start the ninth. Minogue was forced out at second on an ensuing fielder's choice.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Scott Simon and Jesse Seykora followed, with Seykora's hit knocking in Bobby Stevens for the tying run.
Jordin Hood hit a grounder to short on the next play, but Lairson bobbled the ball, and couldn't recover in a enough time to get Seykora out on a force at second.
With one away and the bases full of Huskies, Ian Reinhart caught pinch-hitter Tim Ryan looking on strikes for the second out of the inning. Reed then stepped in and doubled off the left field wall to clear the bases.
Reed's extra base hit was one of five NIU doubles on the day.
Neither team held a lead of no more than two runs until the ninth.
NIU took a 2-0 lead in the second, but SIU tied the game after adding one run in both the second and third innings.
SIU pulled ahead of the Huskies for the first time in the fourth.
Dean Cademartori led off with a single to left, stole second and scored on back-to-back groundball outs to give the Dawgs a 3-2 edge.
Scott Elmendorf doubled down the left field line, went to second on a single by Adam Hills and scored on a double by Mark Kelly to up SIU's lead to 6-4. Kelly extended his hitting streak to nine games.
NIU narrowed the gap to 6-5 when Reed singled home Hood in the eighth.
Matt German (1-1), who is projected to be the Mid-American Conference's Pitcher-of-the-Year, according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, allowed two hits and struck out four in 2.2 scoreless innings of relief.
German entered the game in the seventh and retired eight of the 10 Salukis he faced.
Wells (0-1) was charged with the loss after allowing one hit and two runs in an inning.
Reed and Seykora combined for six of NIU's 13 hits on the day.
Reed went 3-for-5 with a run scored, double and five RBI and Seykora finished at 3-for-5 with a run scored, two doubles and one RBI.
Elmendorf, Hills, Cademartori and Kevin Koski each had two hits to lead SIU.
Defensively, SIU struggled to four errors in a game for the third time this season. All but two of the Huskies' runs were unearned on the day.
SIU returns to action when it visits Murray State Wednesday. First pitch is set for 2 p.m., CST.
Series Notes: SIU posted its second-straight series win against a Mid-American Conference opponent this season...the Salukis improved to 5-1 at home after sweeping Central Michigan (Feb. 23-25) and winning two of three against Northern Illinois...SIU clinched its second series win versus NIU in three years...the Dawgs also registered a 2-1 series win in Carbondale during the 2005 season...the Salukis outscored (20-14) and outhit the Huskies (33-27) on the weekend...SIU committed seven errors, including six in the last two games of the series...those errors led to a total of nine unearned Husky runs over the three-game set...Mark Kelly hit a blistering .545 (6-for-11) with two runs scored, a double, his first career home run and five RBI on the weekend...he also boasted a .909 slugging percentage and .538 on-base percentage...Kelly is on a season-long nine-game hitting streak...Kevin Koski moved into a tie for seventh with Steve Finley (747, 1984-98) in career at-bats at SIU.