March 7, 2007
By Jeff Honza
MURRAY, Ky. - Tyler Owen doubled home two runs with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead Murray State University (2-9) to a 9-8 win over Southern Illinois (9-5) earlier today at Reagan Field.
MSU, currently the last place team in the Ohio Valley Conference, trailed three times before doing away with SIU in the ninth.
The Thoroughbreds stunned the Salukis with six runs in the last two innings of the game.
"Today was a tough game to have to sit and watch," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "We were good enough to win on offense and defense, but lacked the pitching."
SIU led, 5-3, before MSU came alive with two outs in the eighth.
The Thoroughbreds had runners at first and second when Justin Yount and Jamie Leidolf delivered back-to-back hits to ignite the rally.
With its back against the wall entering its final at-bat in the ninth, SIU answered with three runs to regain a 8-7 edge.
Scott Elmendorf led off with a triple to right center and quickly scored on an ensuing hit by Adam Hills. Hills touched home when Mark Kelly doubled on the next play. Dean Cademartori later knocked in Kelly on a one-out sacrifice fly.
Tyler Choate took the mound in a potential save situation for the Dawgs in the ninth, but issued a leadoff walk to Jason Payton and gave up a single to James Akin.
After Austin Swain's sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, Owen ripped his first double of the season just inside the third base line.
Mike Perconte improved to 1-2 on the mound for MSU.
Offensively, SIU pounded out 16 hits.
Hills and Kelly, who hit safely in each of their last three at-bats of the game, paved the way with four and three hits, respectively.
Hills went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI and Kelly finished at 3-for-5 with two runs scored, a pair of doubles and three RBI.
While the offense and defense were there, the pitching simply fell apart.
SIU pitchers allowed both a season-high nine walks and nine earned runs on the day.
Saluki hurlers struggled most in two-out situations, where the `Breds plated seven of nine runs.
MSU hit a solo home run with two outs in the first, scored a pair of runs on a walk and three hits with two outs in the sixth and pushed across four runs on three hits and a walk with two away in the eighth.
A total of seven pitchers took the mound for SIU, which blew a lead in the ninth inning for the second game in a row.
SIU returns home to host Youngstown State in a two-game series, beginning Saturday at 2 p.m., CST. The Salukis face the Penguins in baseball for the first time since 1964.