Ryan Casillas recorded a career-high four hits and drove in three of SIU's four runs.
April 1, 2014
ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Southern Illinois rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth to grab a 4-2 win over the University of Missouri Tuesday night. The Salukis (15-12) were able to tame the Tigers (13-14) on a day that at times may have felt like a circus. The odd day included plenty of rain and a last-minute venue change.
Will Farmer led off the ninth with a single to left field. After Jake Welch bunted him to second, Parker Osborne gave the Salukis their first lead of the day when he delivered the go-ahead RBI with another single to left field. Ryan Casillas drove in Osborne for an insurance run with a double to right field. Casillas recorded a career-high four hits in the game against the Tigers and drove in three of SIU’s four runs.
Kyle Pauly pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first career save. The freshman issued consecutive walks to start the inning but seemed to get a boost when Farmer made a head-first diving play on a foul bunt attempt.
“Will Farmer made two great defensive plays, one in the eighth and one in the ninth,” Henderson said. “Catching that bunt in the ninth, I can’t even begin to explain how big that play was. It kept the double play in order and didn’t let the tying run to get second base. He had a great day.”
Pauly then induced a double play from Mizzou’s No. 3 hitter Kendall Keaton to end the ballgame. The Salukis called on the freshman to pitch the ninth instead of Tyler Dray, who has handled most of the closing duties this season.
The game was moved to the Lou Brock Sports Complex on the campus of Lindenwood University less than two hours before first pitch due to unplayable field conditions at the originally scheduled location, T.R. Hughes Ballpark. When the contest began on the turf field 15 minutes later than scheduled, it had a little bit of everything, including a 23-minute rain delay and stadium lights that flickered on and off a couple times during game action.
“It was a pretty tough day, but we didn’t let it get to us,” Farmer said. “We just had to show up and play. The rain was tough because the field was a little bit different, but we battled through it.”
Lee Weld earned the win to run his record to 3-0 on the year. He entered the game to start the sixth inning with Southern trailing 2-1 and threw three scoreless innings.
“That’s as good as I’ve seen him throw,” Henderson said. “He had good velocity, and his breaking pitch was outstanding. He had great command of it. It was a true swing and miss pitch today.”
Freshman pitcher Austin McPheron made his first career start for the Dawgs. After allowing a leadoff home run to Eric Anderson on his third pitch of the game, he did not allow any more runs and finished his day after three innings of work. McPheron pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the second and a two-on, no-out jam in the third.
SIU tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the third when Casillas drove in Osborne with a single to right field. Osborne had reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to third on Cody Daily’s single.
Henderson was proud of his team for overcoming two one-run deficits in the game and remaining focused despite a wide array of distractions. Southern took batting practice at T.R. Hughes Ballpark then boarded the bus and headed to Lindenwood to play the game at a stadium at which it has never played.
“That’s about as bizarre of a beginning to a game as you can have,” Henderson said. “It was crazy, but it’s a credit to our kids to not get distracted. They were ready to play, even though there was no routine and nothing was normal about today.”
SIU will return home for a 5 p.m. game Wednesday against Murray State at Itchy Jones Stadium before opening a three-game series against conference foe Bradley. The series will begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m. with the first home night game in program history.