March 25, 2007
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University (19-6, 3-0) used a five-run eighth inning to fuel a 9-4 win over Illinois State (9-12, 0-3) earlier today in Missouri Valley Conference action at Abe Martin Field. The Salukis swept the Redbirds for the first time since 1990.
"It's very tough to sweep due to the parity in our league," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "I am pleased to be off to a 3-0 conference start."
Clinging to a 4-3 lead through seven and a half innings, SIU rallied for five runs on just two hits in the bottom of the eighth.
Tyler Lairson reached on a two-base error, and after that, things spiraled out of control for Redbird reliever Kyle O'Brien.
Dean Cademartori was then intentionally walked. Immediately after that, O'Brien hit Choate with a pitch, enabling Hills to score and give the Salukis a 9-3 lead.
SIU's big inning came after ISU was shut down during its turn in the eighth.
Collin Salzenstein and Matt Bolt sent a charge into the Redbird offense with back-to-back hits at the top of the order. Saluki starting left-hander Shawn Joy, who retired 10 of his previous 11 hitters, exited the game after Bolt's single.
Roberts' throw, however, went wide of Saluki third baseman Scott Elmendorf, and Bolt headed for home.
Reinhart backed up the throw and gunned down Bolt at the plate for a huge out.
With runners on the corners, ISU ended up leaving the tying run at third after Reinhart got Kevin Dubler and Jesse Griswold to fly out in foul territory.
Joy (2-1) was credited with the win after giving up six hits and three runs in seven innings. He also recorded a career-high seven strikeouts.
"After last week's win, I came into today with a lot of confidence," said Joy. "I need to just keep building on each start in order to be successful."
Dan Sorce (1-2) suffered the loss after allowing two runs and two hits in one-third of an inning.
SIU out-hit ISU for the third-straight game. The Salukis pounded out 10 hits, with Kelly and Roberts collecting two apiece. Kelly also had three RBI, while Roberts followed with two.
Kelly's hitting streak is still intact at 21 games.
Eight of nine Salukis in the lineup had at least one hit.
Anetsberger went a perfect 4-for-4 with a home run, run scored and three RBI to lead ISU, who finished with nine hits.
SIU swept its conference-opening weekend for the third time in five years. Prior to 2007, the Salukis began both the 2003 and 2005 MVC seasons with series sweeps against Northern Iowa at Abe Martin Field.
SIU hosts Tennessee-Martin in midweek action Wednesday at 2 p.m., CST.
Series Notes: SIU is 19-6 through its first 25 games of a season for the second time under head coach Dan Callahan...The Salukis also started the 1999 season 13 games over .500...SIU swept the Redbirds for the first time in 17 years...The Dawgs posted a four-game sweep of the `Birds in 1990, the last year SIU won a conference title and made it to the NCAA Tournament...The Salukis have won four of their last six games against ISU...SIU improved to 14-1 at Abe Martin Field, where it has swept four opponents this year...The Salukis are on a winning streak of seven or more games for the second time in 2007...SIU's season-long winning streak currently stands at eight games, from Feb. 17-Mar. 3...SIU outscored ISU, 20-10, on the weekend, with 11 of those runs coming in the second and third innings...SIU also outhit the `Birds, 33-22, in three games...The Dawgs have outhit their opponent in six of the last seven games...SIU holds a 15-1 record in games when it outhits its opponent...SIU is a red-hot 18-3 in its last 21 games...The Salukis won a series against ISU for the fourth time under Callahan (1996, 2003, 2005, 2007).