April 13, 2011
By Jason Clay
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior pitcher Andrew Bever threw eight scoreless innings and tied his career-high with six strikeouts to lead the Southern Illinois baseball team to a 3-0 victory over Illinois here Wednesday at Illinois Field.
This is Bever's second consecutive start where he has led the Salukis (12-20) to a shutout. Last Wednesday he guided SIU to a 9-0 win over Murray State by throwing six scoreless innings. He now hasn't allowed a run in his last 14.1 innings of work, dating back to March 29. His second-straight win improves his record to 3-2 on the year.
"That's the deepest I've gotten in a game for three years, so it felt good to do that again finally," said Bever, who only gave up five hits to the Illini (11-17) and didn't walk a single batter. "The first four or five innings my change-up was good for me. I was able to go fastball, change-up a lot and that helped me keep them off balance.
"Then we didn't give up on the curveball and I think that was the key to getting deep in the game. I was able to go to that late in the game and I had it really going for me in the end."
With Southern playing five games this week, Bever's performance was just what the Saluki pitching staff needed. He ate up a career-high eight innings one day after SIU had to use four members of its bullpen in a 14-8 loss to Southeast Missouri State.
"(Bever) gave us eight innings and no runs and that was exactly what we needed," interim head coach Ken Henderson said. "Our bullpen was thin and I was hoping to get at least six out of him tonight, and he not only gives us eight, but eight outstanding innings.
"When you get a performance like that midweek, it gives us a lot of momentum and confidence going into the weekend, which is very comforting."
SIU's streak of eight-straight games with 10 or more hits came to an end Wednesday, as the Salukis finished with nine hits to the five from the Fighting Illini. Wes Neece was 3-for-4 on the day and Chris Murphy was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Southern jumped on the scoreboard first in the top of the fourth. Neece drew a leadoff walk and moved to third after a pair of wild pitches. Brock Harding then drove him home with a sacrifice fly to center.
Bever had given up just one hit through four innings and eight of the first 12 outs he recorded were fly outs. He faced his first tight moment of the game in the fifth when he gave up a one-out double to Brandon Hohl that Pete Cappetta followed with a single to place runners on first and third.
Bever regrouped and picked off Cappetta when he broke to steal for the second out and then got Thomas Lindauer to pop out to second to end the inning and keep the Illini of the scoreboard.
After that fifth inning, Illinois only got one hit off of Bever and that came with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Tyler Dray came in to throw a scoreless ninth inning to record his fifth save of the season.