March 16, 2007
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Jordan Powell threw a perfect game through three innings, struck out four and allowed four hits, as Southern Illinois University (13-6) hung on for a 6-3 win over Western Michigan (4-8) earlier today in the series-opener at Abe Martin Field.
Powell (4-2), who went seven innings, earned his fourth consecutive win on the mound. He retired nine in a row to start the game and held the Broncos scoreless until the eighth.
"I felt like I had good command of my fastball, and I am getting more confident with each start," said Powell. "I got a lot of groundballs and the defense really backed me up."
Powell worked with a one-run lead for five innings before the Salukis scored five more over the sixth, seventh and eighth. SIU has plated 53 percent (59 of 112) of its runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings alone.
Freshman Aaron Roberts led off the second with a single to center and went to third on an ensuing double by Dean Cademartori. Tyler Lairson grounded out to short and Roberts scored to give the Dawgs a 1-0 edge.
SIU pushed its lead to 3-0 with the help of a double steal and three-straight two-out hits in the sixth.
Mark Kelly ignited the rally with a single to left. He moved to second on Roberts' base hit and scored when Cademartori singled to right. Roberts scored the other run on the front end of a double steal.
Saluki reliever Ian Reinhart inherited a first-and-third, no-out situation, and recorded back-to-back outs when Zach Gentile flied out and pinch-hitter Brent Gerlach struck out.
Nathan Marquardt then stepped in and blasted a two-run homer to left to narrow the lead to 4-3.
SIU, however, answered with a two-run homer of its own in the bottom of the eighth.
With Kelly at second after he doubled down the right field line, Cademartori launched a one-out homer to left center to give the Dawgs a 6-3 cushion. For Cademartori, the two-run shot marked his team-high third round-tripper of the season.
WMU had the bases loaded with two outs in the ninth, but came up empty after Bryant George struck out two of the Broncos' last three hitters to end the game. George picked up his third save.
"Bryant did a good job of getting out of the jam in the end," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "He kept his poise and had two big strikeouts."
Offensively, SIU out-hit WMU, 11-6, on the day. Five of those hits came with two outs.
"In order to win a close game like this, we needed to get some big two-out hits, and I thought we did that," stated Callahan.
Cademartori paved the way by going 3-for-4 with a run scored, double, home run and three RBI. He has gotten a hit in seven-straight games.
Kelly extended his hitting streak to 15 games when he went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. He hit safely and scored in his last two at-bats of the day, and has recorded multiple-hits in six consecutive games.
Roberts also had two hits. He was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
SIU improved to 8-1 at home and 6-1 versus Mid-American Conference teams this season.
The Salukis and Broncos resume their series Saturday at 1 p.m., CST. Sophomore right-hander Cody Adams (5-0) will try to become the first Saluki pitcher to go undefeated in six starts since Cliff McIntosh did it in 1988.