March 13, 2007
By Jeff Honza
MURFREESBORO, Tenn.-Southern Illinois University (12-5) scored a combined seven runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings en route to a 10-4 win over Middle Tennessee State (7-10) earlier today at Reese Smith Field.
SIU saw a three-run lead disappear, but held on in a messy game that featured 14 runs, 25 hits, eight errors and 26 runners left on base between the two teams.
Tied, 3-3, after five innings, SIU came alive in the part of the game where it's been most dominant this year.
The Salukis have plated 41 runs between the sixth, seventh and eighth innings through 17 games, and used clutch hitting during that span to bury the Blue Raiders today.
After MTSU answered with a run of its own in the sixth, Lairson doubled off the top of the wall in left center to bring in two more runs for the Dawgs in the seventh. Bret Maugeri and Finigan each scored to push SIU's lead to 7-4.
Aided by a Blue Raider error, a sacrifice fly by Maugeri and another key two-out hit by Lairson, SIU scored three more runs to polish off the 10-4 win in the eighth.
Daniel Wells (1-1) was credited with the win after allowing one hit in two relief innings.
Brett Smalley (1-3) suffered the loss for MTSU.
SIU took a 3-0 lead after scoring two runs in the first and another in the third.
Saluki starting left-hander Shawn Joy took the mound for his fifth start of the season and was forced to pitch out of jams with his defense struggling behind him.
Two SIU errors helped MTSU load the bases with one out in the second, but the Blue Raiders came away empty when Joy struck out Grant Box and forced Wayne Kendrick to fly out.
The Blue Raiders had the bases loaded with one out again in the third, but couldn't score after Joy silenced the threat by striking out Blake McDade and forcing Matt Campbell to hit into a fielder's choice.
MTSU finally got to Joy and tied the game with three two-out runs in the fourth.
Ahead 1-2 in the count, Joy gave up a two-run homer to Myles Ervin. Adam Warren reached on a third Saluki error on the ensuing play, and that was it for Joy.
Shane Garner took over for Joy and gave up a single to Rawley Bishop. Warren went to third on the play, and touched home on a passed ball to tie the game at 3-3.
Offensively, SIU reached double-digit hits for the seventh time in eight games. The Salukis out-hit the Blue Raiders, 14-11, with Lairson going 3-for-4 with a run scored, a double and three RBI. All three of his RBI came with two outs.
SIU and MTSU play again at 3 p.m., CST, Wednesday.