April 3, 2009
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University (12-17, 3-4) nearly overcame an eight-run deficit in a heartbreaking 10-9 loss to Missouri State (14-12, 4-0) earlier today at Abe Martin Field.
Red-hot MSU, which has won 10 of its last 12 games, ended a five-game losing streak against SIU in Carbondale.
The Salukis fell behind, 9-1, in the top of the fourth inning, but scored twice in both the fourth and fifth innings and three times in the sixth.
However, a key two-out error by Chris Serritella led to the game's decisive run in the top of the sixth. Dallas Hord drove Saluki reliever Daniel Wells' first pitch into right field and went to second when Zak Swyhart was hit by a pitch. On the next play, Chris Playter grounded into a double play and Hord advanced to third. Travis McComack then hit a routine groundball to short, but Michael Stalter's throw glanced off Serritella's glove and Hord touched home to give the Bears a 10-5 lead.
The miscue came back to haunt the Salukis in the end.
Roberts singled off the back of MSU reliever Brant Combs, went to second on a base hit by Stalter and scored on Mark Kelly's ensuing single to cut the Bears' lead to 10-9. With the tying run on third and winning run on first, righthander Jon Barnes struck out Serritella and Jordan Sivertsen to end the game. Barnes picked up his second save of the season.
Trevor Rogers reached on a one-out triple and scored on a safety squeeze in the third, before MSU tacked on three more runs with two outs in the fourth. Carlson rallied the Bears with a solo home run to right. Consecutive singles by Brayden Drake and Hord followed. Rogers then walked and Playter knocked in both Drake and Hord on a single to left.
SIU started to climb its way back in the game during the middle innings.
Stalter was hit by a pitch to start the fourth and went to third on a base hit by Kelly. Serritella drove in Stalter on a double to left and Kelly touched home when Sivertsen grounded out to short.
Chris Murphy led off the fifth with a single to right center and advanced to third with the help of Roberts' single and an error. Stalter flied out to right and Murphy scored. Kelly brought home Roberts on a base hit to left, slicing MSU's lead to 9-5.
Preseason All-American righthander Tim Clubb (3-1) was credited with the win after giving up eight runs on nine hits in eight innings. Clubb, who settled down to retire seven-straight after the Salukis made it a 10-8 game in the sixth, also struck out six, walked one and threw 123 pitches.
Righthander Nathan Forer (0-4) suffered the loss. Forer scattered 10 hits, gave up nine runs, struck out three and walked one in just 3.2 innings.
Roberts and Kelly combined for half of SIU's 12 hits on the day. Roberts went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI, while Kelly finished at 3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI. Eight of nine Saluki starters scored a run, as well.
MSU, which registered 16 hits, including 11 in the first four innings, was led by Carlson, Hord and Ryun. Carlson went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run, one run scored and two RBI. Hord went 3-for-5 with three runs and a double. And, Ryun went 3-for-5 with a run scored and one RBI. Playter also drove in four runs for the Bears.
Today marked SIU's sixth Valley game which was decided by one run this season. The Salukis are on a four-game losing streak in conference play.
SIU and MSU resume their series on Saturday at 2 p.m., CT. Righthander Adam Curynski (1-1) and lefthander Buddy Baumann (5-0) are scheduled to start on the mound.