April 9, 2006
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Freshman Bret Maugeri had a career-high three hits, including the go-ahead single in the bottom of the seventh to lead Southern Illinois University (21-14) to a 14-8 win over North Dakota State (2-24) earlier today at Abe Martin Field.
The series sweep marked SIU's second of the season and first since the Salukis won four games against Central MIchigan on Feb. 23-26.
NDSU hung tight with SIU all weekend and made things tough again on the Dawgs today.
"It was a crazy weekend and North Dakota State is a better team than its record indicates," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "They never quit against us."
NDSU fell behind twice, but battled back to tie SIU on each of those occasions.
However, shortly after Gavin Hofer's two-RBI single knotted the game at 8-8 in the sixth, NDSU simply fell apart in the seventh.
It appeared as though freshman Mark Kelly had struck out when he checked his swing with one out in the seventh, but the first base umpire said no, and Kelly remained at the plate and later reached on a walk.
What would have been the second out for the Bison was followed by an error, which gave the Dawgs runners at first and second. Maugeri then singled home Kelly for the go-ahead run. Back-to-back walks, two wild pitches and another error came after that, and before it was all said and done, SIU ended up with six unearned runs to take a 14-8 lead.
Garner, who made his second relief appearance, took over for starter Matt Brewer with two outs and runners on first and second in the sixth, but ended the threat when he threw Ryan Langlais out on a comebacker to the mound.
"I was happy Shane got the win," said Callahan. "He came in and pitched well in a tight situation."
Adams tossed a perfect eighth inning, before Baker struck out Luke Otto and got Cory Schwantes to ground out to first, unassisted, to finish off the Bison in the ninth.
SIU, who scored four runs in the first, held a 6-3 lead after four innings before NDSU answered with three tallies to bring the game to 6-6 tie in the fifth.
The see-saw battle continued when the Dawgs answered with two more runs to build an 8-6 edge in that same inning, but Hofer and NDSU tied SIU again in the sixth.
Maugeri registered his first three-hit game of the season by going 3-for-5 with a run scored, a double and three RBI.
"I thought this was Bret's best game of the season so far," said Callahan.
Elmendorf had a huge series against the Bison, hitting .727 (8-for-11) with six runs scored, a double, three RBI, three walks and a stolen base. He also boasted a .818 slugging percentage.
"Scott had a great weekend, and based on his numbers, he could be a strong contender for the Valley's Player-of-the-Week honor," said Callahan.
SIU returns to action Tuesday when it hosts SE Missouri State. First pitch is set for 3 p.m., CST.