Matt Jones hit his first home run as a Saluki in Saturday's game.
March 16, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois committed two 10th inning errors that led to three runs in a 7-5 loss to Illinois Saturday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. The game had gone to extra innings after SIU left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“We’re just not performing when it counts,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “When we have to make a play or have a quality AB in a crucial situations, we just can’t do it right now.”
Lee Weld pitched the 10th inning for the Salukis (9-9) and took his first loss of the season. Illinois (12-4) scored three runs against him, and all three runs scored on two consecutive ground balls that were not hit as far as the infield dirt. With the bases loaded and one out in a 4-4 game, Illini pinch hitter Ryan Nagel hit a ground ball that Jake Welch charged to field just behind the mound. However, he lost control of the ball before he could make a throw to the plate. That allowed Jordan Parr to slide in safely and break a 4-4 tie with the go-ahead run.
The next batter, Adam Walton, attempted a squeeze bunt and bunted a hard grounder in front of the pitcher’s mound. Weld hurried off the mound to field it, but his throw to first base was off the mark. That allowed two more runs to cross the plate, extending the lead to 7-4. The play came two batters after Weld visited with the athletic trainer after he fielded a bunt and lost his footing on a throw to first base.
In the bottom of the 10th, Southern Illinois managed a two-out solo home run from Luke Mottashed but nothing more as Reid Roper earned his fourth save of the season for the Illini.
“They walked people and gave us every opportunity in the world,” Henderson said. “Both teams should’ve scored 10 or 12 runs, but we were sitting here in a 4-4 game in the 10th inning.”
SIU stranded seven runners in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings combined. In both the seventh and the ninth innings, the Salukis drew three walks to load up the bases. The seventh inning ended with a double play, and the ninth ended with a strikeout.
“We’re being selfish,” Henderson said. “We need to just take what they give us. If we hit a ball up the middle, we win the game. We’re trying to do too much instead of just doing what we’re capable of doing and letting great things happen.”
Bryan Roberts entered the game for Illinois with the game tied at 4-4 and the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. He struck out Cody Daily to end the inning and earn the win.
Southern Illinois had battled back from an early 3-0 hole to take a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Jones jumpstarted the comeback with a two-run homer in the third to cut the deficit to 3-2. Daily started the rally in the fourth inning with a double to left-center field. After a wild pitch and a walk to Donny Duschinsky put runners at the corners, Daily scored on a failed pickoff attempt, which tied the game at 3-3. Duschinsky came home with the go-ahead run on Mottashed’s sacrifice fly.
The lead was short-lived as the Illini manufactured an unearned run against SIU starter Cody Forsythe to tie the game at 4-4 in the fifth. Justin Parr led off the fifth with a single to right field. His brother Jordan bunted him over to second base, and Justin Parr stole third and scored the tying run when the throw to third went into left field.
Forsythe threw six innings for the Salukis. In addition to the unearned run in the fifth, he surrendered three earned runs in the third inning. He walked the first two batters of the third and surrendered a two-run triple to Justin Parr followed by an RBI single by Jordan Parr, which gave the Illini a 3-0 lead.