Salukis top Eastern Kentucky 6-2

    Wes Neece went 2-for-4 in his first start of the year.

    Wes Neece went 2-for-4 in his first start of the year.
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    March 28, 2013

    By John Lock

    Box Score

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois baseball team snapped a seven-game losing streak and beat the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Thursday afternoon, 6-2, at Abe Martin Field. The Salukis (10-14) took the first of a three-game series with EKU (5-16).

    SIU starting pitcher Sam Coonrod evened his record at 2-2 after tying a career high with 7.1 innings pitched. Coonrod retired the side in four of his seven complete innings of work and struck out five EKU hitters. The Colonels' only two runs came on a two-out double down the left field line by Doug Teegarden.

    "Coonrod was Coonrod. He does what he does. He's good," head coach Ken Henderson said. "He always gives you a chance. He keeps you in ball games."

    But Southern quickly erased EKU's lead, surging ahead with three runs in the fifth inning. After a leadoff strikeout, five consecutive Salukis reached base. Jake Welch brought in two of the runs and scored the go-ahead run on Matt Jones' single. Welch finished the day 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs and a run scored.

    "For the first time in a long time, we got a crucial AB," Henderson said. "Throughout all our struggles as a team, he's not struggling. If you could give me one guy to have up in that situation, he's the guy I want."

    After Coonrod left the game with one out in the seventh inning, Tyler Dray and Aaron Snyder pitched out of the inning. SIU tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the eighth before Todd Eaton sealed the win in the top of the ninth.



    "I'm really proud of the bullpen," Henderson said. "Those eighth-inning jobs by Dray and Snyder were really good jobs. Those two guys--in a one-run game--keeping it a one-run game was huge. And Todd was very good in the ninth."

    The Salukis knocked Cobb (2-5) out of the game with three insurance runs. Ryan Casillas drew a hit-by-pitch and Donny Duschinsky singled to give SIU two on with one out. Luke Mottashed then pinch hit and singled up the middle on the ninth pitch of his at-bat to load the bases. Wes Neece brought home two of the runs and the third scored on a wild pitch.

    Neece started for the first time this season and responded with a 2-for-4 day with two RBIs and one run scored. Neece's four at-bats doubled his season total entering the game.

    "I thought he deserved a chance," Henderson said. "He's had a few good ABs off the bench and had a good day in practice yesterday. He's played hard; his effort has never wavered. I thought he deserved an opportunity, and he took advantage of it."

    Southern will play the second game of its three-game home stand with Eastern Kentucky Friday at 2:30 p.m. CT.