April 2, 2006
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Jason Newburger went 3-for-3 with a home run, three runs scored and two RBI to lead Bradley University (11-12, 4-2) to a 9-7 win over Southern Illinois (18-12, 3-3) earlier today at Abe Martin Field. The Braves took the series, 2-1.
Newburger, the Braves' eight-hole hitter delivered a one-out solo home run to pull BU to within a run in the third.
Two innings later, he doubled home the tying run, stole third and touched home for the go-ahead tally in BU's three-run fifth.Newburger then hit safely and scored once more in the seventh.
He was a Saluki killer all weekend long, hitting .727 (8-for-11) with two doubles, two home runs (one of which was a grand slam), eight RBI, a walk and one stolen base. Newburger also boasted a 1.455 slugging percentage, while having a hand in 15 of the Braves' 23 runs.
After Newburger closed the gap to 2-1 on his homer in the third, the bottom-third of BU's lineup went to work in the fifth.
Colby Luttrell started a one-out rally with a single to right in the seven-hole. Newburger followed with a double and Luttrell scored. Peter Malinowski was then hit by a pitch, and shortly after that, Newburger stole third. Newburger, along with pinch-runner Curtis Hornaday came home on Pat Ryerson's single to give the Braves a 4-2 edge.
SIU trailed, 4-3, after pushing across a run of its own in the fifth, but fell apart defensively in a miserable seventh inning.
With two outs and a run already in after Newburger singled and came around to score, Brad Jones reached on a catcher's interference and Tony Dimonte hit safely to right. Back-to-back errors by Lairson at short followed that, and the Braves cashed in four more runs, all unearned, to take a 9-3 lead.
The Salukis made one last threat in the ninth with a runner on first and second with two outs, but BU reliever Peter Elmer struck out Hunter Harrigan to end the game.
"We didn't get the big hit when we needed someone to step up today," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan.
Freshman Collin Brennan remained unbeaten at 3-0 on the year after giving up 10 hits and seven runs to go along with two strikeouts in eight innings.
Elmer was credited with his second save.
Matt Brewer fell to 1-2 after allowing six hits and six runs in 6.2 frames. He also struck out four and walked one. Offensively, SIU had 11 hits, including two by Alvarez, Harrigan and Lairson.
In addition, the Salukis' four mishaps pushed their error total to 71 in 30 games this season.
"It's going to be hard to win games in this league if we continue to struggle defensively," said Callahan.
SIU saw its streak of six-straight Missouri Valley Conference series wins ended by the Braves today.
SIU plays at Tennessee-Martin Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m., CST.