Michael Stalter drove in the game-winning run in the 11th inning of game two
March 27, 2010
By Jason Clay
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois baseball team split its Saturday doubleheader with Creighton at Abe Martin field, losing game one, 2-1, and winning the second, 5-4, in 11 innings.
The Bluejays earned the series victory two games to one, but all three games were decided by two runs or less. SIU's record now stands at 10-14 overall and 1-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference while CU is 12-6 and 2-1.
"We definetly took a step forward and we pitched well enough to win three games," head coach Dan Callahan said when asked about the strong weekend from his pitching staff. "We just didn't swing the bats that well this weekend, but in the first quarter of the season we've really swung the bats well and I'm confident that this is just temporary."
The Saluki pitching staff only allowed 10 runs in the three-game series, but SIU's offense only scored eight.
Junior center fielder Chris Murphy led the Saluki bats with three hits in the two games Saturday. He scored two runs and sophomore first baseman Chris Serritella had a team-high two RBIs on the day, both coming in the second game.
Game one was a pitcher's dual between SIU's Nathan Forer and Creighton's Brandon Koenigstein. Koenigstein (3-0) got the win, as Forer got little run support to spoil his great day on the mound. Koenigstein threw seven innings with five hits and one unearned run.
Forer also went seven, which is the longest of any Saluki starting pitcher this year. He only gave up five hits with two runs (one earned) and five strikeouts against just one walk. Forer's ERA now stands a 1.10 after his second outstanding start this year.
Both of Creighton's game-one runs came with two outs and the first one was unearned. Ian Dike's RBI double down the right-field line in the seventh inning proved to be the game winner.
Game two was another low-scoring affair that had three ties and went into extra innings.
Southern Illinois had a 4-3 lead heading into the top of the ninth, but Creighton right fielder T.J. Roemmich hit a two-out RBI single to bring home Alex Staehely for the tying run.
Both teams went three-up and three-down in the 10th inning. The Jays were retired in the top of the 11th and Tyler Bullock led off the Saluki bottom half with a single to right center. Freshman Wes Neece pinch-ran for Bullock and was moved over to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Nick Johnson and later to third on a wild pitch.
Creighton's Bobby Lackovic got the second out on a strikeout, setting up the two-out drama.
Saluki senior shortstop Michael Stalter was due up, and he came to the plate with zero hits in his 11 at-bats in the series up to that moment. He had a 2-2 count when he fisted a pitch into center field and the ball dropped cleanly to allow Neece to score the winning run.
Southern Illinois senior right-handed pitcher Bryant George (4-1) picked up the win in game two. Left-handed pitcher Randy Hoelscher threw five innings for the Dawgs in his fifth start of the season. He gave up just six hits and had three strikeouts in his strongest outing on the year.
Lackovic (3-2) picked up the loss for Creighton in game two.
Serritella led the Salukis in the second game with two hits and those two runs driven in. Southern Illinois as a team had nine hits and were assisted by three Creighton errors.
Southern Illinois hosts UT Martin on Tuesday, March 30 at 3 p.m. before welcoming in Bradley for a three-game series at Abe Martin Field, April 2-4.