Sam Coonrod struck out a career-high 11 hitters Friday night.
March 28, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – In its first conference game of the season, Southern Illinois committed a season-high five errors, which led to four unearned runs in an 8-3 loss to Missouri State Friday night at Hammons Field. The Salukis (13-11, 0-1 MVC) have now committed nine errors in their last two games. The Bears (10-13, 1-2 MVC) were not flawless either and made three errors in Friday's game.
“The errors were absolutely the difference in the ballgame,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “Who are you going to beat when you make five errors? By my count, six of those runs were gifts. Without a doubt that’s the story of the game.”
The most costly of the errors occurred in the fifth inning, which allowed Missouri State to take a 5-2 lead with three unearned runs. With one out in the inning, Tate Matheny reached on an infield single. Ryan Rosthenhausler had made a tremendous diving stop and nearly threw out Matheny on a bang-bang play that SIU Coach Ken Henderson came out of the dugout to argue. Matheny then stole second base and moved to third on a groundout to first base.
Saluki starter Sam Coonrod appeared to be out of the inning without any damage, but Donny Duschinsky dropped a flyball in right field. The error allowed Matheny to score, and Eric Cheray and Conor Smith followed with a pair of RBI singles to give MSU a three-run advantage.
Coonrod put up impressive numbers. He allowed five runs, although only one of them was earned. In five innings of work, he struck out a career-high 11 hitters, the most by a Saluki since 2012.
After loading up the bases with no outs in the third, Coonrod struck out the next seven batters he faced.
“I thought that was our point in the game where we were going to come back and win,” Coonrod said, “but it just didn’t work out that way.”
Coonrod’s defense did not help him out, committing four errors in his five innings of work. Although, he did commit one of the errors, himself.
“We had to take him out after five innings because his pitch count was so high because of the errors,” Henderson said. “Those errors probably cost him 25 pitches, which could've been two more innings for him.”
Southern fought back for a run in the sixth to cut the deficit to 5-3 when Ryan Rosthenhausler hit a one-out double and scored on Jake Welch’s sacrifice fly.
The next inning, SIU got the first two men aboard when Cody Daily reached on an error and Ryan Casillas was hit by a pitch to put the tying run on base. However, the inning concluded with a strikeout and two groundouts and two men in scoring position.
“After it was a three-run game, we got one back and had the tying run at second base, but we didn’t get the crucial hit right there,” Henderson said. “If we get that hit, we tie it up and it’s a different ballgame at the end.”
The Bears put the game out of reach in the eighth with three runs to make it an 8-3 game. Reliever Chad Whitmer, after pitching a scoreless sixth and seventh innings, allowed three straight one-out singles in the eighth to extend the lead to 6-3. He then got two strikes on Dylan Becker before issuing a walk to load the bases.
“Whitmer probably just got a little tired,” Henderson said. “He started to get a balls up in the zone. But I thought he threw well. Up until that point he was awfully good.”
Lee Weld relieved Whitmer and issued another walk to force in a run. Weld then induced a double-play ball, but Rosthenhausler and Jake Welch could not connect on the exchange at second base, allowing the final run to score.
Both teams were able to get to the opposing starter in the early innings.
Missouri State began its half of the first inning with a pair of bunt singles by Matt Dezort and Dylan Becker. Saluki defenders compounded matters when Ryan Sabo fielded Dezort’s bunt and threw it past first baseman Ryan Casillas. Coonrod did the same on Becker’s bunt, allowing Dezort to score the first run of the game.
MSU added a run in the second inning when Cheray drew a leadoff walk and scored when Patrick Drake smashed a double to the warning track in left field.
SIU rallied for a pair of runs to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth. Casillas led off the inning with a single. Duschinsky then walked, and Jake Hand singled to load the bases for Parker Osborne, who hit a sac fly to put the Salukis on the board. After Dyllin Mucha walked to reload the bases, Rosthenhausler singled up the middle to tie the game at 2-2.
The Salukis will try to even the series on Saturday when Todd Eaton takes the mound for SIU in a 2:05 p.m. game.
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