Luke Mottashed's two-run homer sparked a four-run seventh inning.
April 2, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois extended its winning streak to a season-best four games with a 7-2 win over Murray State Tuesday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. Southern Illinois (13-14) led the entire way and busted the game open with a four-run seventh inning to split the season series with the Thoroughbreds (12-16) at a game apiece.
"We're playing a little better and having a few more quality ABs," SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. "That's what we need to continue to work on. We left some runs out there, but I'll take seven runs. Maybe guys will get some confidence from it."
Luke Mottashed's two-run homer off reliever Will Handlin opened the seventh inning explosion and gave SIU a 5-1 lead.
"That gave us some breathing room and took some pressure off everybody," Henderson said of the home run.
Ryan Rosthenhausler followed with a single up the middle to knock Handlin out of the game with still no outs in the inning. Then with one out, Rennie Troggio doubled off Sheldon Baxter, and Matt Jones drew an intentional walk to load the bases. Cameron Wallace, the third pitcher of the inning, walked Austin Montgomery to force home a run, and Donny Duschinsky capped the rally with a sacrifce fly to give SIU a 7-1 advantage.
Reliever Anthony Shimkus picked up the win for SIU. He pitched a scoreless fifth and sixth inning to run his record to 3-0 on the year.
The freshman entered the game in the fifth inning with SIU clinging to a 2-0 lead and two runners on base with no outs. He cleanly fielded a sacrifice bunt then induced a pair of pop ups to end the inning without letting any runs across. Shimkus started the sixth with a walk and a hit batsman but again escaped with no damage.
Thoroughbreds starter Tim Vonder Haar allowed three runs, only two of them earned, in five-plus innings of work and took the loss.
Saluki Starter Brad Drust threw four scoreless innings but couldn't hang around long enough to record the victory. The southpaw cruised through the first three innings with just two singles and four strikeouts. He issued two walks in the fourth but avoided any runs with three lineouts. Drust departed after the first two batters reached in the fifth.
"He created his own trouble, but then he pitched out of it," Henderson said. "The first two or three innings, he was outstanding. Then he got himself in trouble and pitched out of it, but he threw up four zeros and kept us in the ballgame. That's what you need to do. It doesn't matter how it looks."
The Salukis set the tone for the game in the first inning when Jones put SIU on the board with a one-out, RBI double to the gap in left-center. Jones scored when Ryan Casillas singled up the middle. However, the inning ended with Donny Duschinsky at third base when Casillas was caught stealing.
"We got a little bit of a lead early, and that helps out," Henderson said. "I was frustrated because it should've been more, but we'll take what we got. That takes a little pressure off everybody."
Murray State failed numerous times to capitalize with men on base and stranded 11 runners in the game. Seven of those stranded runners came in the fifth inning or later.
The Salukis issued six walks and hit three batters, but only one of those nine free passes directly resulted in a run.
"We kept pitching out of jams, but they were jams we created," Henderson said. "We kept getting ourselves in trouble so I kept thinking we need to expand this somehow in case something crazy happens."
The Salukis will now head to Evansville with a full head of steam as they open a three-game conference series with the Purple Aces beginning Friday.
"This win is important because we got swept against Indiana State and need to make a statement when we play Evansville," Mottashed said. "So bringing that momentum definitely helps us coming into Evansville."