March 21, 2007
By Josh Searby
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Aaron Roberts went 5-5 with three runs scored and Tyler Choate pitched six shutout innings to lead Southern Illinois University (16-6) to a 7-4 victory over Murray State (3-15) earlier today in its final tune-up before Missouri Valley Conference play.
Choate (2-1) scattered six hits and posted a career-high six strikeouts, avenging his loss to the Thoroughbreds earlier this season.
"Tyler pitched very well today", said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "He really had good control over his fastball and that helped him get a lot of groundball outs."
Choate was equally happy with his outing and credited pitching coach Tim Dixon for his success.
"I gained a lot of confidence from my last outing," said Choate. "Coach Dixon helped me out a lot after I had been struggling and really got me back on track."
Roberts led off the first inning with a single up the middle and scored on Adam Hills' base hit. Mark Kelly extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a single up the middle on the next play, before Dean Cademartori hit a sacrifice fly to score Hills, giving SIU a 2-0 lead in the first.
The Salukis added three more runs in the second.
Michael Finigan doubled down the left field line, moved to third on an infield single by Roberts and scored on an RBI-single by Scott Elmendorf. MSU catcher Jason Payton's throw skipped into center field when he tried to throw out Elmendorf at second base, enabling Roberts to score. Kelly capped the rally with a run-scoring single to push the lead to 5-0.
Daniel Wells gave up a pair of runs on four hits, including a home run and three singles.
Ian Reinhart relieved Wells and inherited a pair of runners, which later scored with the help of an Elmendorf error and a fielder's choice to make it a one-run game (5-4).
The Salukis, however, answered with some insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to polish off the 7-4 win.
Bryant George retired three of the four hitters he faced to pick up his fourth save of the season.
Offensively, both teams had 12 hits. Roberts became the second Saluki this season to have five hits.
"Aaron had a great game today," said Callahan. "He has done a great job filling in while Kevin Koski has been hurt."
SIU will be back in action at home on Friday, when they open up MVC play against the Illinois State Redbirds. The Dawgs and Redbirds open a three-game series Friday at 2 p.m., CST.