Purdue edges Salukis 3-2 with ninth-inning rally

    Starter Sam Coonrod matched a season-high with six strikeouts in six scoreless innings but took a no-decision.

    Starter Sam Coonrod matched a season-high with six strikeouts in six scoreless innings but took a no-decision.
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    March 21, 2014

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    CARBONDALE, Ill. – Purdue scored an unearned run in the ninth inning to sneak past Southern Illinois in a 3-2 game Friday afternoon at Itchy Jones Stadium. The loss broke a three-game winning streak for the Salukis (11-9).

    “We didn’t deserve to win the game, and the game was not lost in the ninth inning,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “It was lost in the first six or seven innings when we had zero quality ABs with runners in scoring position.”

    The Boilermakers (3-14) scored the winning run when Kyle Wood beat out a two-out infield single to score Sean McHugh from third base. McHugh had reached on an infield single, his fourth hit of the day, when he chopped a ball over the pitcher’s mound. Saluki reliever Derek Fogel’s throw to first was low and skipped past Ryan Casillas, allowing McHugh to advance to second base. He stole third during Wood’s at-bat.

    Fogel took the loss, his first of the season. The ninth inning run was the only score he allowed in two and two-thirds innings of relief.

    Southern had rallied to tie the game at 2-2 with a single run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Cody Daily led off the frame with a single. After a sacrifice moved pinch runner J.C. DeMuri to second base, Tyler Rolland doubled to the gap in left-center field to score DeMuri. One batter later, with two outs, pinch hitter Ryan Rosthenhausler singled to right field, and Rolland was thrown out at the plate attempting to score the go-ahead run.

    “We’re starting to swing it better,” Henderson said. “We did a great job in the eighth, but why couldn’t we do that in the first seven innings? Finally in the eighth inning we had a quality AB with runners in scoring position for the first time all day.”

    It was the second game in a row that SIU tallied 12 hits but stranded 10 runners on base.

    “We should’ve had five, six, seven runs,” Henderson said. "To me, that’s the ballgame. Instead, we’re suddenly in a one-run game in the eighth and ninth. Our effort was great, but you’re just not going to win on Fridays if you don’t execute better than that.”

    Saluki starter Sam Coonrod was stellar in the best outing of his career. He scattered six hits in six scoreless innings and struck out six Boilermakers. He left in line for the win with SIU maintaining a 1-0 lead that it had held since the first inning. Coonrod issued a single walk and stranded two runners in each of the first three innings before settling in to retire nine in a row.

    “I felt like I really slowed my pace down, and that helped me throw more strikes,” Coonrod said. “It felt good getting a run early. I’ve allowed runs in early innings and been behind a lot, so it felt good to be ahead.”

    Purdue loaded the bases with one out in the top of the second, but Coonrod induced a ground ball back to the mound to start a 1-2-3, inning-ending double play to maintain the 1-0 lead.

    “We’ve worked on keeping stuff down in situations like that and mixing it up,” Coonrod said. “I got a ground ball back to me, and it was great.”

    Purdue took a 2-1 lead on McHugh’s two-out, two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning. It was the first homer ever hit at Itchy Jones Stadium, and it came immediately after reliever Chad Whitmer hit Cody Strong, who represented the tying run.

    Purdue’s Mike Lutz earned the win. He allowed one run in three innings of relief and finished the game for the Boilers.

    Southern took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Jake Welch led off with a double to right field and scored on Casillas’ RBI single.

    With the loss, the Salukis dropped to 1-4 in series openers this season. They will look to rebound on Saturday when the series with Purdue resumes at 2 p.m. at Itchy Jones Stadium.