April 3, 2012
By Scott Gierman
MURRAY, Ky. – In an afternoon full of ugly baseball, SIU took control late in the game to defeat Murray State 13-10 Tuesday afternoon at Reagan Field. Southern Illinois’ offense was helped out by a season-high 14 walks and made its seven hits count.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we kept battling and found a way to win in the end,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “Every time they would score, we found a way, and then we had a couple huge hits late in the game.”
Southern Illinois (16-13) took an 11-10 lead in the top of the eighth inning on Brock Harding’s sacrifice fly to left field to score Chris Serritella. Donny Duschinsky had scored the tying run earlier in the inning on Jordan Sivertsen’s bases loaded fielder’s choice. Sivertsen matched a career high with six RBI in the game. Duschinsky then added insurance with a two-run double in the ninth.
It was SIU’s second comeback of the game. Murray State (14-16) had built its lead to 6-0 with a three-run rally in the first inning and then another three-run rally in the third. SIU did not have its first hit until the fourth inning.
SIU grabbed its first lead of the game in the sixth inning when Sivertsen capped a four-run inning with his second home run of the day. It was a three-run homer and gave the Salukis a 9-8 lead.
“We had a couple huge hits late in the game,” Henderson said. “Jordan Sivertsen has six RBI. That’s huge and probably the key to the game because he got us back and gave us the lead.”
Tyler Dray took the win for SIU. He walked three batters and allowed two runs to surrender the lead in the seventh inning then stayed in to toss a scoreless eighth. Dray improved his record to 2-1. Todd Eaton earned his sixth save of the season and gave the Salukis a tame ending to a wild day with a hitless ninth inning.
Murray State’s Tim Vonder Haar was saddled with the loss. He faced three batters in the eighth inning, and all three of them reached base.
Each team used six pitchers and combined to issue 20 walks.
“Everybody was struggling a little bit,” Henderson said of the pitching in the game. “Guys who normally throw a lot of strikes just didn’t look comfortable.”
The Salukis got their first run on the board in the fourth inning thanks to five walks in the inning. All three runs scored on a bases loaded walk to cut the deficit to 6-3. However SIU left the bases loaded with the go-ahead run at the plate.
Southern creeped to within a run with Sivertsen’s first home run, a two-run shot in the top of the fifth. That cut the Breds’ lead to 6-5.
Southern Illinois starter Pete Slavonic lasted just one inning. Murray State struck for three runs off five hits in the bottom of the first. Four of the first five batters recorded a hit against Slavonic. Despite an error in the inning, all three runs were earned.
SIU will return home for a three-game conference series against Evansville beginning Friday at 3 p.m.