Rennie Troggio's sacrifice fly tied the game at 3-3 in the eighth.
March 8, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois hitters bombarded Northern Illinois with seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to turn a tight game into an 8-3 victory Friday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. After being held to one hit in the first five innings, the Saluki offense quickly turned it on with 10 hits in their final three innings at the plate.
The Salukis (6-6) trailed 3-1 before sending 12 batters to the plate against NIU (2-10) in the eighth. With runners at the corners, Jake Welch drove in the go-ahead run as he lifted a two-strike single to right field. Prior to Welch's single, Rennie Troggio had tied the game at 3-3 with a bases loaded sacrifice fly.
"Hitting's contagious," Henderson said. "We had some guys step up and have some big ABs. Troggio did a great job on the sac fly to tie the thing up, and then Jake Welch had just a great two-strike approach."
Following Welch's hit, Ryan Rosthenhausler drew a walk to load the bases again, and catcher Matt Jones drove in a pair with a single up the middle to extend the lead to 6-3. That chased Anthony Andres from the game. He allowed five runs off four hits and recorded only one out as he took his first loss of the season.
Lee Weld pitched a perfect inning and a third to earn the win, his first since May 21, 2010 after missing all of 2011 and most of 2012 due to injury.
"I had a pretty good mix going," Weld said. "Jones had a good game plan back there. I just attacked them with everything I had, and it worked out."
Todd Eaton slammed the door in the ninth with an identical sequence of a flyout followed by two strikeouts.
"Lee Weld was very good today," Henderson said. "That's the best Eaton's been since opening weekend. Those are guys that we need to count on, and they did a good job for us."
SIU starter Derek Fogel pitched well en route to a no-decision. He allowed three runs off six hits in six and two-thirds innings of work but left the game before the Salukis provided enough run support.
"Fogel did a great job," Henderson said. "It's frustrating for him. He's out there pitching his rear end off, and we're not getting him any run support. He did a great job, and if he didn't go out there and continue to battle hard and throw up zeroes, our offense wouldn't have had a chance to come back late."
Jordan Ruckman was just as effective for NIU, limiting Southern to one hit in the first five innings of the game. He departed in line for the win with two outs in the seventh inning after Welch's first RBI single of the day cut the Huskies' lead to 3-1.
The two teams will complete the series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. at Abe Martin Field.