April 13, 2012
By Scott Gierman
DALLAS – Dallas Baptist’s offensive firepower once again proved to be too much as the Patriots defeated SIU 12-8 Friday night at Patriot Field. DBU has now taken the first two games to start the three-game series, stretching SIU’s losing streak to four games, which matches its longest of the season.
DBU (23-10) erupted for eight runs in the bottom of the second inning to take an 8-3 lead over the Salukis (18-17) and never trailed after that point.
SIU starter Cameron Maldonado left after the second inning. All eight runs against him were earned, and he suffered his first loss of the season, dropping his record to 5-1 in 2012.
“He just didn’t have it,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “It just wasn’t his night. He’s been awfully good for us the last five or six weeks, but sometimes it’s just not your night.”
The Patriots second inning rally began with a two-run home run from Ryan Behmanesh, his second of the series. That cut SIU’s lead to 3-2. Four of DBU’s eight runs in the inning came with two outs, including Landon Anderson’s home run to right field, which drove in the final two runs of the inning. In total, the Patriots sent 12 men to the plate and recorded eight hits in the inning.
Taylor Massey took home his sixth win of the season, but did not escape unscathed. SIU touched him up for seven runs, four of them earned, in five and a third innings. He allowed 11 hits and struck out four.
SIU clawed its way right back into the game with a three-run rally in the top of the sixth to creep to within a run. The Salukis recorded four consecutive hits, and the last two runs of the inning scored on a wild pitch and then a passed ball to make it an 8-7 game.
“It’s a great hitters park so you know you’re never out of a game,” Henderson said. “When we got it to 8-7, I thought we had a chance but we just couldn’t throw up enough zeros down the stretch.”
Reliever Matt Murphy kept the Dawgs in the game for as long as he could. He started the third inning and tossed three scoreless innings of relief before surrendering a home run to Boomer Collins in the sixth inning. It was Collins’ ninth homer of the year and stretched the DBU lead to 9-7.
Murphy got the first two batters in the seventh before hitting Jaime Garrido and then giving up a single to Michael Miller and a home run to Austin Elkins. The three-run inning gave the Patriots a 12-7 lead and all but put away the Salukis.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know if he was just tired since that was the longest he’s been out there,” Henderson said. “But we had two outs and nobody on, and they ended up getting three more runs out of that in his fifth inning.”
Despite the strong effort, Murphy was charged with four runs off five hits. He lasted four and two-thirds innings, the longest outing of his career.
“He did a great job keeping us in the ballgame, doing what we needed him to do to give us a chance and eating up innings,” Henderson said. “We have another game tomorrow. We couldn’t blow through our entire bullpen tonight so he did a good job eating up some innings for us.”
For the second night in a row, SIU was the first team on the board. Austin Montgomery and Jordan Sivertsen hit back-to-back doubles to start the second inning. Sivertsen and Brock Harding both scored on Nick Johnson’s two-run double, which gave SIU a 3-0 lead.
Oddly enough, the Salukis are now 7-9 on the season when scoring first but have a winning record of 11-8 when their opponents are the first team on the board.
One bright spot for SIU was the return of pitcher Lee Weld, who returned from shoulder surgery to make his first appearance in a game since May of 2010. The redshirt sophomore allowed one hit in a scoreless inning of work and struck out Ryan Behmanesh to end the eighth.
“I’m very proud of him,” Henderson said. “He kept the ball down in the zone, and he pitched. He mixed speeds, and that was very good to see. That’s probably the highlight of the evening, to see him out there competing and doing a great job.”
Nick Johnson drove in three of SIU’s eight runs and recorded a career-high four hits in four at-bats.
The Salukis will try to avoid being swept for the first time this season when Sam Coonrod takes the mound for SIU in the series finale Saturday at 1 p.m. at Patriot Field.