Freshman Bret Maugeri hit a two-RBI, game-winning single in the 10th inning against Middle Tennessee State Saturday
March 11, 2006
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Freshman Bret Maugeri hit a two-RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Southern Illinois University (12-5) a 9-8 come-from-behind win over Middle Tennessee State (5-6) earlier today in a thriller at Abe Martin Field.
SIU trailed, 8-7, heading into its last at-bat in the 10th.
With plenty of help from reliever Langdon Stanley, who hit back-to-back batters and threw a wild pitch, SIU had runners on second and third with no outs.
Following a Chris McCulloch strikeout, Stanley intentionally walked Erik Alvarez to load the bases for a potential double play situation. After falling behind 1-2 in the count, Maugeri ripped a single up the middle to end the game.
"There's no way to describe how good it feels," Maugeri said after delivering his first career game-winning hit. "Any player wants to be in that situation. I was battling up there and was happy to get the two hits that I did with two strikes in the count."
SIU had two chances to break a 7-7 tie in the bottom of the ninth, but two outstanding defensive plays by Blue Raider outfielders Adam Warren and Marcus Taylor helped send the game into extra innings.
Maugeri hit a ball to Warren to lead off the ninth, and despite losing his footing in a soaked outfield due to rain the night before, Warren managed to make the catch on his knees.
"We almost won it in the ninth with two consecutive at-bats," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "Those plays were huge!"
MTSU headed to the plate in the top of the 10th, and Wayne Kendrick immediately singled off Saluki closer Dusty Baker. Kendrick, who moved into scoring position on a sacrifice-bunt by Jeff Beachum, touched home on a one-out single by cleanup hitter Michael McKenry.
MTSU blew a total of four leads on the day against the never-say-die Saluki club.
The Blue Raiders quickly pulled ahead of SIU, 4-1, before the Dawgs tied things up with three runs in the bottom of the second.
MTSU took its second lead in the third inning when nine-hole hitter Josh Horn delivered a one-out RBI-single, but SIU answered with a run-scoring single by Alvarez in the fifth to bring the game to a 5-5 deadlock.
MTSU regained a 7-5 edge with the help of Beachum's RBI-double and Todd Martin's run-scoring single in the sixth.
However, SIU pulled to within a run when freshman Scott Elmendorf knocked in Maugeri on a two-out single in the seventh.
Matt Brewer's infield single in the eighth then tied the game (7-7) up for the third time.
Baker moved to 3-0 on the year after giving up three hits and a run in two innings of work.
Stanley fell to 0-2 after blowing a save opportunity in the 10th.
Offensively, there were a total of 36 hits between the two teams, with each having 18.
Every Saluki starter had at least one hit, with Elmendorf again paving the way by going 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Koski, Dean Cademartori, Brewer, Alvarez, Nathan Emrick and Maugeri followed with two hits. Koski, who went 2-for-4 with a double and one run scored, was 2-for-27 (.074) in his last six games prior to today.
Meanwhile, MTSU's one-through-five hitters, consisting of Doug Birkofer (2), Kendrick (3), Beachum (2), McKenry (3) and Martin (2) accounted for 12 of the Blue Raiders' 18 hits.
There were a total of 26 runners left on base between the two teams, as well.
SIU and MTSU wrap up their three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m.