Salukis let leads slip in 7-6, 10th inning loss at Murray State

    Austin McPheron threw 2.2 scoreless innings in relief.

    Austin McPheron threw 2.2 scoreless innings in relief.
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    March 26, 2014

    By Scott Gierman 

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    MURRAY, Ky. – Southern Illinois committed a season-high four errors, and the last one allowed the winning run to score as SIU lost by a score of 7-6 to Murray State in 10 innings Wednesday afternoon at Reagan Field. The Salukis (13-10) let three separate leads slip away. They blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the first two innings and surrendered a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning against the Thoroughbreds (10-12).

    Matt McGown scored the game-winning run from second base when Tyler Lawrence dropped a sacrifice bunt in front of home plate. Kyle Pruemer, in his first inning of relief, fielded the ball cleanly but had to rush for a chance to get Lawrence at first base. McGown crossed home plate after Pruemer’s hurried throw sailed past second baseman Ryan Rosthenhausler, who was covering first base.

    The run scored in what was likely to be the final inning as the sun set on a ballpark no stadium lights.

    SIU had tied the game at 6-6 in the top of the ninth inning when Jake Welch hit a flyball double to right-center field that landed just out of the reach of a diving Taylor Mathews and scored Parker Osborne from second base. Osborne led off the inning with a single and moved to second on Rosthenhausler’s sacriice bunt.

    It was a sloppy game all around as both teams used eight pitchers, combined for five errors, 19 walks, eight hit batsmen and 29 runners left on base.

    “We gave up free passes, committed errors and didn’t have quality ABs with runners in scoring position,” Henderson said. “We just had a bad day in all areas. For some reason we didn’t play well, and we weren’t ready to go. Maybe that’s on me.”

    Murray State took its first lead of the day at 6-5 when Donny Duschinsky misjudged a flyball in right field that would’ve ended the eighth inning. It came immediately after Anthony Bayus hit a two-out double to score Ty Stetson and tie the game at 5-5.

    Preuemer took the loss for SIU. He did not record an out in the game, though the run he allowed was unearned. He gave up a single and a walk to start the inning.

    Southern Illinois looked to be on the verge of breaking the game open on many occasions but could not deliver the knockout punch. SIU scored two runs in the first and added another in the second but left the bases loaded in both innings and then left the bases packed again in the fourth and the seventh.

    “We left the bases loaded in three of the first four innings,” Henderson said. “So I’m looking up at the scoreboard thinking the game should be six or seven to zero, and it’s 3-3.”

    Osborne, pinch hitting in the seventh, broke a 3-3 tie when he lined an RBI single through the left side of the infield, scoring Matt Jones from second base. Jones and Tyler Rolland both reached on two-out walks. After Osborne’s go-ahead hit, Rosthenhausler drew a walk to load the bases, and Welch drew another walk to force in the second run of the inning and extend the lead to 5-3.

    Three of Murray State’s first four runs were forced in by a walk or a hit batsman. Saluki starter Connor McFadden only recorded three outs and allowed three runs. He forced in a pair of runs in the first inning when he hit Tyler Lawrence and walked Michael Hargrove, both with the bases loaded. McFadden left the game with no outs in the second inning. He allowed only two hits but issued four walks.

    “We scored two in the first and then went right back and gave up two without a hit,” Henderson said. “They didn’t put a barrel on a bat, and they scored two runs.”

    Matt Murphy relieved McFadden with the score tied at 3-3 and threw two perfect innings to give SIU a chance to regain control of the game. Austin McPheron followed Murphy with two and two-thirds scoreless, hitless innings, but the Saluki offense couldn’t provide any run support through the middle innings.

    Saluki relievers combined to throw eight-plus innings in the game, but Henderson did not believe that the deep bullpen was overworked.

    “We didn’t ask anybody to do too much,” Henderson said. “We had plenty of pitchers. The only thing we asked them to do was throw strikes, and we didn’t do that.”

    Ryan Casillas gave SIU a 2-0 first inning lead when he hit a two-run double down the right field line. Southern then loaded the bases when Jake Hand drew a walk, and Tyler Rolland was hit by a pitch. However, the Salukis left the bases packed as the inning ended.

    After Murray State knotted the score at 2-2 after one inning, Rosthenhausler led off the second inning with a single and scored on Ryan Sabo’s single to center field.

    SIU has still won five of its last seven contests and will open conference play on the road with a three-game series against Missouri State beginning on Friday at 6:35 p.m.