Kyle Preumer picked up his second win of the season.
April 2, 2014
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois overcame a 6-0 second-inning deficit to beat Murray State 10-9 on a wild, rain-soaked Wednesday night at Itchy Jones Stadium. The Salukis (16-12) outscored the Thoroughbreds (13-13) by a 10-3 margin after the second inning and took their first lead in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“We certainly didn’t play our best,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “We’ve done that a few times and won. I knew we had a team with good character that plays hard and battles, so that doesn’t surprise me.”
Ryan Casillas drew a leadoff walk to start the seventh and scored to make it 10-9 when Matt Jones roped a double that rattled around in the left field corner. Jones had entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the seventh inning. The big hit was an encouraging sign from SIU’s regular catcher.
“Jones has been swinging it pretty well, so he’s starting to figure it out,” Henderson said. “If he can continue to do that on offense, that’s going to be a big boost for us because he hasn’t swung it yet this year like he’s capable of swinging it.”
Both teams’ pitching staffs struggled to find consistency throughout the night. The steady rain made for sloppy play as the two teams combined for eight wild pitches and three passed balls. The Salukis drew a season-high 11 walks but also struck out a season-high 12 times.
Southern battled back to tie the game for the first time at 7-7 in the bottom of the fifth. Will Farmer led off the inning with a bunt single. Jake Welch followed with a single to left field. When Ryan Rosthenhausler showed bunt, Farmer stole third with nobody covering. Rosthenhausler then drove in Farmer with a sacrifice fly.
The lead did not last long as the Salukis tied it back up at 9-9 in the bottom of the sixth. Donny Duschinsky and Tyler Rolland hit a pair of one-out singles, and Dyllin Mucha drew a walk to load the bases. Farmer followed with a sacrifice fly to cut it to 9-8. After Welch drew a walk to reload the bases, Rosthenhausler drew an RBI walk to knot the score. However, SIU would leave the bases loaded as the inning came to an end.
SIU turned it back into a ballgame in the third inning when the Salukis rallied for four runs with the help of two walks and a hit batsman. Mucha capped the rally with a two-out, two-run single that cut the deficit to 6-4.
“In the third inning, even before we scored, I sensed our guys finally had some energy and started to pick it up,” Henderson said. “From then on, we played with good energy.”
Southern took control of the game as the bullpen finally gained traction in the late innings. After issuing five walks in the first six innings, the Salukis issued only one in the final three innings.
Kyle Pruemer started the seventh inning and threw a scoreless inning and two-thirds. He gave way to Kyle Pauly with runners on the corners and two outs in the eight, and Pauly retired the only batter he faced to end the inning.
“Pruemer came in and pounded the zone,” Henderson said. “We just kept telling our guys, it’s not a good night to hit. So if you throw strikes and make them earn anything, we’ll be okay.”
Tyler Dray then threw a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save in as many chances this season.
Murray State built a 6-0 lead after two innings. Saluki starter Connor McFadden faced five batters, recorded one out and was charged with four runs. He departed with runners at the corners.
“He has good stuff, but I think he’s lost some confidence,” Henderson said. “I think he’s just struggling to find it right now. Nobody hits him hard, but he gets himself in trouble.”
Brad Drust replaced him and made his first appearance of the season. He allowed both inherited runners to score and was also charged with an unearned run as MSU sent 10 men to the plate in the inning.
“We weren’t ready to go,” Henderson said. “We didn’t do a good job on the mound, but we made a couple defensive mistakes in the first, so for whatever reason, we weren’t ready to go.”
SIU will open its first home conference series of the year this weekend against Bradley with the first ever night game at Itchy Jones Stadium at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. It will also be the first Withers Broadcasting Family Friday.