Mistakes lead to big innings in 14-6 loss to Missouri State

    Austin Montgomery tied the game at 5-5 in the second inning with his team-leading fourth home run of the season.

    Austin Montgomery tied the game at 5-5 in the second inning with his team-leading fourth home run of the season.
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    April 13, 2013

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    CARBONDALE, Ill. – Misplays and missed opportunities were the story of the day as Southern Illinois committed a season-high five errors and stranded 13 runners in a 14-6 loss to first place Missouri State Saturday afternoon at Abe Martin Field.

    It was not the low-scoring affair one might expect between the two schools with the lowest ERAs in the conference. After both teams had tallied five runs apiece by the end of the second inning, the Salukis (16-18, 1-7 MVC) could not keep pace the rest of the way. The Bears (21-9, 6-2 MVC) put up four runs in the fifth and four more in the ninth, outscoring SIU 9-1 in the final seven innings.

    “We just weren’t very good today,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “We didn’t do a very good job on the mound and we weren’t good on defense.”

    Missouri State took the lead for good in the top of the third inning on Tate Matheny’s sacrifice fly to plate Travis McComack. That gave the Bears a 6-5 advantage.

    SIU got the tying run to third base with two outs in the third, but the inning ended on a groundout. Southern again had a chance to tie it in the fourth, putting runners at the corners with no outs, but a double play and a ground out to the pitcher quickly erased the threat.

    “We got our hits, but we only got six runs out of it,” Henderson said. “We didn’t execute on offense a couple of times. We left a lot of runs out there.”

    SIU’s Matt Murphy allowed the go-ahead run in the top of the third. It was one of three runs surrendered in his two and two-thirds of an innings of relief. With the loss, he dropped his season record to 3-2. Following the sac fly, Murphy pitched a perfect fourth but left after walking the first two batters of the fifth. Both of those runners scored in a four-run inning that gave MSU a 10-5 advantage and essentially put the game out of reach.

    During that fifth inning, Henderson was ejected from the game by home plate umpire Tom Brahan. Henderson had not even walked out of the dugout to argue when he was ejected.

    Starter Derek Fogel lasted just an inning and a third for the Salukis. He surrendered a season-high five runs, although only three of them were earned. Fogel pitched around a hit batsman and a single for a scoreless first inning but only retired one of the seven batters he faced in the second inning. Southern Illinois also committed three errors in that inning.

    “Obviously, Derek didn’t have very good stuff today, and he needed to fight through some adversity,” Henderson said.

    The bullpen for SIU allowed nine runs in seven and two-thirds innings of work. All four relievers used in the game surrendered at least two runs. However, Jacob Williams and Lee Weld each allowed two runs, and none of those runs were unearned.

    “If those relievers go in and throw up zeroes and do what they’re capable of doing, then we’d have a chance to get back in the ballgame,” Henderson said. “We didn’t get two innings from (Fogel), but if the relievers throw up zeroes, we’re right there.”

    Missouri State’s Jon Harris seemed destined for a short outing after surrendering a three-run homer to Austin Montgomery to tie the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the second inning. However, he stayed in to pitch six and a third innings, allowing just one run off six hits after the second inning, to pick up his conference-leading seventh win of the season.

    Harris allowed 14 hits, which matched his total in his previous three outings combined, but was helped by his defense as SIU grounded into a season-high three double plays in the game and stranded a runner in seven of the nine innings. The two innings in which SIU did not strand a runner both featured a double play.

    Southern Illinois finally knocked Harris out of the game when he loaded the bases with three straight one-out singles in the bottom of the seventh. The only run of the inning came when reliever Matt Hall bounced a curveball off Wes Neece’s batting helmet to force in a run and cut the lead to 10-6. The inning then ended on a double play.

    The Salukis will try to avoid a sweep in the finale of the three-game series on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.