Salukis fall short in 4-2 loss at Middle Tennessee State

    Brock Harding went 2-for-4 with an RBI in Tuesday's game.

    Brock Harding went 2-for-4 with an RBI in Tuesday's game.
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    March 12, 2013

    Box Score

    MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - SIU's comeback fell short in a 4-2 loss to Middle Tennessee State Tuesday afternoon at Reese Smith Jr. Field. After the Blue Raiders (11-5) took the an early lead, the Salukis (8-7) kept the game close and got the tying run to the plate in each of the last three innings but could not get the run home.

    SIU was one big hit away from its fourth consecutive come-from-behind victory. In the top of the ninth, Ryan Casillas reached with an infield single. Brock Harding then hit a slow roller to the right side of the infield, which first baseman Hank LaRue fielded, but MTSU reliever Daniel Palo dropped his flip to first base to put two men on with one out.

    Palo struck out pinch hitter Nick Johnson and induced a deep flyout off the bat of Jake Welch to end the game.

    Middle Tennessee's Garrett Ring held SIU scoreless in his five innings of one-hit ball to earn his first collegiate win. The freshman took a no-hitter into the fifth before finally surrendering a one-out single to Brock Harding.

    "You have to tip your hat to their pitcher," SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. "He's a young guy with a very good arm, and he did a good job. It just took us a while to get going and figure some things out, and I thought once we did we had some better ABs."

    SIU's best threat against Ring came in the fifth inning with the Salukis down 2-0. After Cody Daily drew a leadoff walk, Ryan Casillas hit a rocket to the left side. Third baseman Robert Lawrence made a leaping grab and easily doubled up Daily at first base.



    "Casillas' line drive double play was a big part of the game," Henderson said. "We would've been sitting second and third with nobody out and the right guys coming up. Their third baseman made a very good play. If that ball goes to the corner, that changes the whole complexion of the game."

    The Salukis' defensive effort was just as impressive. The Dawgs turned two crucial double plays and did not commit an error.

    After managing just two hits through the first six innings, the Salukis scratched across a run in the top of the seventh inning. Cody Daily started the rally with a one-out walk. Ryan Casillas and Brock Harding followed with a pair of singles. Harding's single scored Daily to cut the deficit to 3-1. However, a double play ended the scoring threat ended with the tying run on base.

    Middle Tennessee pushed the lead back to a three-run cushion in the bottom of the seventh when Ryan Ford drew a one-out walk and scored on Hank LaRue's RBI single to extend the lead to 4-1.

    Ryan Rosthenhausler's first home run of his Saluki career cut MTSU's lead to 4-2 in the top of the eighth. Matt Jones followed that up with an infield single to bring the tying run to the plate, but the next two Salukis flew out to end the inning.

    SIU Starter Bryce Sablotny had a solid outing but took the loss. After allowing a couple runs in the first inning, he settled in to throw six and two-thirds of an inning. He allowed four runs in total off 10 hits and struck out four.

    "He threw well," Henderson said of Sablotny. "He made pitches when he had to, and he minimized things. He got some runners on, but he battled and stranded some runners. The defense did a great job behind him. He got some ground balls and let them make plays."

    Matt Murphy was the only reliever the Salukis used. He threw one pitch in the seventh inning as Matt Jones threw out Hank LaRue on a stolen base attempt. Murphy then tossed a perfect eighth to keep it a two-run game.

    Ryan Ford led off the home half of the first inning with a single to right. Hank LaRue followed with a double to left-center, and they both scored on RBI groundouts.

    "That's just a great college baseball game," Henderson said. "You look up, and it's 4-2 in the ninth. That's just two good teams playing a good college baseball game."