Salukis crush Evansville, 13-5, in series finale

    Matt Murphy three three and a third scoreless relief innings to earn the win.

    Matt Murphy three three and a third scoreless relief innings to earn the win.
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    April 7, 2013

    Box Score

    EVANSVILLE, Ill. – Southern Illinois’ offense erupted for 20 hits as SIU cruised to a 13-5 victory Sunday afternoon at Braun Stadium. The 13 runs marked a season high, and the 20 hits were the most by SIU since 2011.

    “We didn’t sit on the lead,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “We kept expanding it, and it was by far our best effort of the year. Hitting’s contagious. A couple guys start hitting, and everybody jumps on board so it was good to see that.”

    The win broke the Salukis’ (14-16, 1-5 MVC) streak of 12-straight regular season conference losses as they avoided a sweep by the Purple Aces (14-18, 5-4 MVC).

    “It was beginning to get a little demoralizing because we were losing after being in every game,” Henderson said. “So to come out today and get a win feels awfully good. Hopefully the guys get some confidence from it and realize what we’re capable of doing.”

    After scoring six runs in the first two games of the series, Southern Illinois’ offense exploded for six runs in the top of the third inning. The rally started when Rennie Troggio struck out for what should’ve been the second out of the inning, but he reached first on a wild pitch. Matt Jones then singled, and Austin Montgomery drew a walk to load the bases. Ryan Casillas, Cody Daily, Wes Neece and Ryan Rosthenhausler each followed with a run-scoring hit to give SIU a 6-1 advantage.



    Evansville cut the deficit to 6-5 with four unearned runs in the bottom of the third to knock starter Sam Coonrod out of the game after just two and two-thirds of an inning. Coonrod allowed with five runs, but only one of them was earned.

    Both starters left with two outs in the third inning. However, SIU’s offense recorded 14 hits against the Evansville bullpen while the Saluki bullpen responded with sixth and a third scoreless innings, allowing just three hits to preserve the win. Matt Murphy entered with one on and two outs in the third inning after four runs had already scored and induced a flyout to end the inning.

    “It took a great effort from our bullpen,” Henderson said. “When Evansville got back in the game, for them to throw up zeros for six and a third innings and give our offense a chance to go back out and build on that lead is phenomenal.”

    Murphy allowed just one hit and struck out three in his three and a third innings of work as he picked up his second win of the year. It was the longest outing by an SIU reliever in 2013.

    “My main goal was to throw strikes and let the fielders do their job,” Murphy said. “We were swinging it well, so I was trying to throw up zeros so the hitters could get back up there and keep swinging it.”

    Tyler Dray, Aaron Snyder and Todd Eaton followed Murphy, and each tossed a scoreless inning.

    Six of SIU’s starting nine recorded a three-hit game on Sunday. The Salukis also had six players with at least two RBI. Ryan Casillas led the team, driving in three in the contest.

    Casillas and Daily hit a pair of two-out RBI singles in the fourth to extend the lead to 8-5.

    The Salukis put the game out of reach with a five-run seventh inning. Wes Neece plated the first run of the inning when he hit an RBI-triple to score Daily. Neece also had a double in the game. After a walk to Jake Welch, Jones then singled home Neece and Jake Welch, and scored on Austin Montgomery’s second home run of the season to cap the five-run inning.

    Evansville starter Sam Johns lasted just two and two-thirds of an inning and surrendered six runs off six hits. With the loss, his record dropped to 1-2 on the season.

    “Those are the kind of hitters we thought we had all year, so we’ve been waiting for it to happen,” Henderson said. “We’ve said we think it’s going to happen some day, and today it happened. Hopefully we can keep that going because the hitters looked good today, and they hit well.”