March 26, 2006
By Jeff Honza
WICHITA, Kan. - Damon Sublett and Conor Gillaspie each homered and the Shocker bullpen helped freshman Adam Shafer to his fourth win on the mound, as No. 11 Wichita State (21-5, 1-2) hung on for a 4-3 win against Southern Illinois (16-10, 2-1) earlier today at Eck Stadium.
SIU entered the day trying to make some more history, as it was in position to sweep WSU on its home field. Had it done so, the Salukis would have become the first team in conference history to accomplish that feat.
But, the fired up Shockers had other things in mind.
An infield single, an error and a two-run homer by Sublett gave WSU a quick 3-0 lead in the first, as Shafer was dominating the Saluki lineup.
The Shockers upped their lead to 4-0 in the fifth when Gillaspie smashed a leadoff home run over the wall in right center.
Shafer retired 12-straight and threw a one-hitter through six shutout innings before the Saluki offense suddenly came alive to rattle him for five consecutive two-out hits in the seventh.
Grant Gerrard extended his hitting streak to 14 games and ignited the two-out rally with a single up the middle. Gerrard went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Erik Alvarez's single to left. Dean Cademartori followed with a hit to right, before Bret Maugeri singled home Alvarez. Freshman Mark Kelly then delivered his first collegiate hit, a RBI-single to left center, to pull SIU to within a run, 4-3.
Shocker left-hander Noah Booth took over for Shafer immediately after Kelly's hit and struck out Hunter Harrigan to end the threat.
SIU made some more noise with two outs when Scott Elmendorf doubled down the right field line and Gerrard singled up the middle in the eighth. However, Noah Krol got Alvarez to hit into a fielder's choice, leaving both runners on base.
Senior Tyler Norrick (1-1) suffered his first loss of the season on the hill. Norrick, who threw 90 pitches, recorded a season-high eight strikeouts, scattered four hits and allowed four runs in five innings of work.
The Shocker bullpen preserved the win for Shafer, who moved to 4-1 on the year. He struck out four, gave up six hits and yielded three runs in 6.2 frames.
Sublett earned his team-high fifth save.
Offensively, SIU was led by Gerrard, Alvarez and Cademartori, who each had two hits.
The Salukis also stranded five baserunners in the last three innings of the game, two of which were in scoring position.
SIU returns home to host Tennessee-Martin on Wednesday at 2 p.m., CST.