April 8, 2012
By Scott Gierman
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Salukis could not complete the sweep of Evansville as they lost 6-2 Sunday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. Kyle Freeland and the Purple Aces defense cooled off the bats of red hot SIU (18-14, 5-4 MVC).
Evansville (20-12, 4-5 MVC) seemed to find every hole in the SIU defense. The Aces had five runs off 10 singles before Kevin Kaczmarski doubled home their sixth run of the game in the top of the sixth inning to extend the lead to 6-0.
Meanwhile Evansville's Freeland allowed just one run off four hits in his seven innings of work to earn his third win of the season. He retired the first eight batters of the game, and his defense made numerous plays behind him.
SIU Coach Ken Henderson pointed to at-bats that changed the game.
The first came in the third inning with Evansville already up 2-0. Trentt Copeland hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield. The ball bounced high off the glove of first baseman Chris Serritella, who dove to try to make the play. That allowed two runs to score and gave the Aces more breathing room the rest of the way.
"It's a rollover ground ball that went off the tip of his glove," Henderson said. "If that's a foot closer to him, that's a 2-0 game instead of a 4-0 game."
SIU had a chance to get back in the game in the bottom of the third. After Freeland retired the first two batters of the inning, Tanner Renner and Jake Welch both reached on infield singles, and Donny Duschinsky walked to load the bases. Chris Serritella came to the plate as the tying run but flew out to center field.
Sam Coonrod made his first conference start for the Salukis. He allowed five runs off 10 singles in four and a third innings. He had four strikeouts against no walks and took his second loss of the season.
"His stuff is good enough," Henderson said, "but he just left too many balls in the middle part of the plate. It wasn't like they were hammering balls on him. They were putting a bat on it and making things happen, which is a credit to them."
Jordan Sivertsen finally got the Dawgs on the board when he led off the seventh inning with a home run, his seventh of the season. He is now tied with Serritella for the team lead and also moved into a 10th place tie on the school's all-time list in home runs and RBI with 23 and 127, respectively for his career.
Down 6-1 heading to the ninth, SIU managed a run off three hits in the final frame, but a double play doomed the comeback attempt.
Southern's bullpen pitched well late. Matt Murphy was the first man out of the pen and allowed a run off just one hit in two and a third innings. Tyler Dray and Todd Eaton each added a scoreless inning of work.
Henderson summed up the game by saying he was disappointed in the results but not the effort of his team.
"Other than not executing some pitches in some timely situations, I can't say we played poorly," he said. "We played good defense, and we barreled some balls up. That's baseball. Sometimes it's your day, and sometimes it's not. Today just wasn't our day. We just couldn't get anything to fall."
Nathan Dorris will make the start for the Salukis when they travel to Cape Girardeau to take on Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday at 5 p.m. before beginning a three-game series on Thursday at Dallas Baptist. SIU's next home game will be Wednesday, April 18 against UT-Martin.