Saluki comeback falls short in 5-4 loss at SEMO

    Ryan Casillas recorded three hits in the game.

    Ryan Casillas recorded three hits in the game.
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    April 8, 2014

    Box Score

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois could not overcome an early three-run deficit as the Salukis lost 5-4 to Southeast Missouri State Tuesday night at Capaha Field. SIU (17-15) trailed 3-0 after the first inning and 4-0 after the fifth before battling back to get the go-ahead run to the plate against the Redhawks (22-10) in the ninth.

    "We took a punch there in the first inning," SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. "After that I thought we settled in and played very well."

    The Salukis cut the lead to one on Cody Daily's two-run homer with no outs in the ninth and got the tying run on base with Jake Hand's two-out, pinch-hit single. However, Christian Hulls struck out Will Farmer to end the game and earn his third save of the year.

    "I thought that we did a lot of good things," SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. "We just came up a run short. We had a couple opportunities to score and didn't, but we also stepped up at times."

    Southern had cut the Redhawk lead to 4-2 in the top of the eighth when reliever Skylar Cobb balked in a run. It came with runners at the corners after J.C. DeMuri and Jake Welch both singled. However, Welch was stranded at second base when the inning ended.

    In the bottom of the eighth, SEMO plated an insurance run that proved to be the difference in the game. After the first two hitters of the inning went quietly against SIU reliever Derek Fogel, Andy Lennington doubled to right field. He moved to third when Fogel was called for a balk. Henderson came out to argue the call.



    "The explanation given was that he started to go, came to a complete stop and then stepped off later instead of simultaneously," Henderson said. "In 30 years, I've never seen that called."

    Following the balk call, Dalton Hewitt singled to extend the lead to 5-2.

    Southeast Missouri State plated three runs off four singles in the first inning. Lennington drove in the first two runs with a two-run single to left field. After Hewitt singled through the right side, Lennington stole home to give SEMO a 3-0 lead as Hewitt stayed in a rundown that eventually ended the inning.

    After successfully plating a run on the first-and-third gimmick in the first inning, the aggressive approach backfired as SEMO repeatedly ran itself out of innings for the remainder of the game. Saluki catcher Matt Jones threw out three potential base stealers and picked off a runner at first base.

    "Jones did a great job," Henderson said. "That's why we played him midweek because we knew they were going to run and be aggressive. We did a good job controlling that, and we did a good job not letting leadoff guys get on."

    The Redhawks stretched the lead to 4-0 with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Matt Tellor reached on a two-out walk and scored on Derek Gibson's double to left field. The ball landed near the left field line, just out of the reach of a diving Donny Duschinsky, who misjudged the ball after he had saved a run with a diving catch in the second inning.

    The inning ended when Southeast Missouri had runners at first and third, and reliever Matt Murphy easily threw out Lennington, who left first base early in an attempt to steal second.

    Saluki starter Austin McPheron lasted four and two-thirds of an inning in his second career start. He allowed four runs. After the three-run first inning, he allowed only one run off three hits in the rest of his outing.

    "He left some balls up in the zone in the first inning," Henderson said. "I thought Austin settled down and threw extremely well after that. He gave us a chance."

    SIU got on the board and cut the deficit to 4-1 in the top of the sixth with an unearned run on Ryan Rosthenhausler's sacrifice fly. It came after Will Farmer led off the inning with a single, and Jake Welch hit a potential double play ball that got past shortstop Andy Lack to put runners at the corners. However, Welch was picked off first base in a rundown to erase the hopes of a bigger inning.

    The Salukis will resume conference play this weekend when they host a three-game series against Indiana State beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Itchy Jones Stadium.