April 1, 2012
By Scott Gierman
WICHITA, Kan. - SIU could not hold a pair of early two-run leads as the Salukis (15-13, 3-3 MVC) dropped the finale of a three game series, 10-7, to Wichita State Sunday afternoon at Eck Stadium. With the loss, SIU lost two of three games in the three-game series, just the Salukis second weekend series loss of the season.
Casey Gillaspie's three-run, sixth inning homer off SIU reliever Sam Coonrod broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Shockers (17-14, 2-1 MVC) the lead for good. The ball flew just above the outstretched glove of Jordan Sivertsen, who scaled the wall in left field. Gillaspie homered again in the eighth to extend the lead to 10-5.
In a game decided by the bullpens, Southern Illinois knocked Wichita State starter A.J. Ladwig out of the game in the fourth inning but could not score off WSU's relievers until the ninth inning when Austin Montgomery's two-run homer cut the deficit to 10-7.
Saluki pitchers held Wichita State to 10 hits combined in the first two games of the series but allowed 14 hits on Sunday. Coach Ken Henderson pointed to pitching as the reason for the loss.
“We didn’t pitch well enough to win,” Henderson said. “That was the difference. We pitched well the first two days. We should’ve won two. We did win one, but we didn’t pitch well enough to win today.”
Wichita State's Albert Minnis was the first man out of the bullpen. He allowed just three hits in two and a third scoreless innings as he picked up his second win of the season.
Coonrod was the only reliever the Salukis used in the game. He allowed five runs off four hits and struck out five in three and two-thirds of an inning. With the loss, his record fell to 1-1 on the season.
Duschinsky's double knocked Ladwig out of the game after just three and two-thirds of an inning. He allowed five runs off seven hits and struck out four. Only three of his runs were earned.
Minnis and Foster Vielock combined for four and a third scoreless innings, which allowed Wichita State's offense to score seven unanswered runs before Montgomery's ninth inning blast. Despite the lack of runs after the fourth inning, SIU had at least one runner on base in every inning of the game.
“Their bullpen’s pretty good,” Henderson said. “We didn’t get runs off them, but I thought we hit some balls hard. We just couldn’t get two or three hits together. We hit a lot of balls hard, just right at them. You can’t do anything about that.”
Early on Southern's offense carried over the momentum from Saturday night's game. Jake Welch led off Sunday's game with a double and came home to score on Chris Serritella's RBI single. Wichita State gave the Salukis a free insurance run in the inning when Donny Duschinsky was hit by a pitch and scored when Austin Montgomery hit a slow roller through the legs of Shockers third baseman Tyler Baker.
Wichita State rallied the bottom of the second inning when Aaron Rea singled, and Ryan Hege followed with a double. Tyler Baker doubled them both home to tie it and 2-2. Baker then scored on a wild pitch to give WSU its first lead of the game.
Southern Illinois starter Nathan Dorris allowed five runs off 10 hits in four and a third innings. He left with two runners on and SIU in front 5-4, but Aaron Rea scored the tying run off Coonrod on a line shot that hit off Coonrod's glove.
Southern Illinois will be back in action on Tuesday when the Salukis visit Murray State. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Pete Slavonic is scheduled to make the start for SIU.