Chad Whitmer allowed one run in 4.0 innings of relief.
April 13, 2014
CARBONDALE, Ill. - For the second day in a row, Indiana State rallied in the ninth inning to hand Southern Illinois a 5-4 loss at Itchy Jones Stadium. Sunday's series finale was the third consecutive one-run contest between the two teams as the Sycamores (22-10, 6-5 MVC) took two out of three games from SIU (18-16, 3-5 MVC) over the weekend.
"I thought we did a lot of good things," SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. "We just didn't execute down the stretch."
After tossing a six-pitch perfect eighth inning, Derek Fogel stayed in to pitch the ninth for the Salukis with the game knotted, 4-4. Fogel walked the ninth-place hitter, Owen Conway, to start the inning then left with an arm injury with a 3-1 count on Landon Curry. The southpaw appeared to suffer the injury as he threw his final pitch a couple feet above the catcher's head, which allowed pinch runner Connor McClain to advance to second base.
Curry hit reliever Kyle Pauly's first pitch for a single up the middle to drive in McClain and give the Sycamores the 5-4 advantage. It was the only hit of the inning for ISU, and Pauly finished the inning without any further damage.
"When you're in a tight ballgame in the ninth inning, you just absolutely cannot walk the leadoff guy," Henderson said. "We walked six guys. We have to throw strikes and make them earn it. They got one bouncing ground ball single up the middle to score the winning run."
Southern had battled back from a pair of deficits earlier in the game but could not muster a third comeback in the bottom of the ninth. Jake Welch and Parker Osborne drew back-to-back one-out walks before Cody Daily grounded into a game-ending double play.
The Salukis only got five outs from starter Aaron Hauge. He allowed three runs, two of them earned, in an inning and two-thirds. After starting the season 3-1 with a 1.26 ERA, he has allowed nine earned runs in 11 and a third innings over his first three conference starts.
However, the bullpen kept the Salukis in the game. Chad Whitmer relieved Hauge in the second inning with two on and two out. After issuing a walk, he escaped the inning without allowing the inherited runners to score. Whitmer proceeded to retire 10 in a row before allowing a single run in the sixth inning.
"(Whitmer) did a great job," Henderson said. "When you have to go get your starter in the second inning, you hope you have guys down there (in the bullpen) who are able to throw up zeros and give you a chance. He did everything we needed him to do."
Indiana State regained the lead at 4-3 in the top of the sixth when Derek Hannahs executed a safety squeeze bunt to score Tyler Wampler from third base. Wampler and Michael Eberle had begun the inning with a pair of singles.
The Dawgs tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh. Ryan Casillas roped a double down the left field line to score Osborne with the tying run. It was Casillas' third hit of the game and gave him 30 RBIs on the year, matching his season total from 2013.
After falling behind 3-0 in the second inning, the Salukis rallied for three unearned runs in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 3-3. Ryan Rosthenhausler led off the inning and reached on a throwing error by third baseman Cody Zimmerman. After Matt Jones was hit by a pitch, Dyllin Mucha singled home Rosthenhausler for SIU's first run of the game.
A batter later, Welch grounded out to score Jones from third base, and Osborne followed with a two-out single up the middle to score Mucha and knot the score.
Henderson said he saw improvement from his team at the plate after it failed to come through with clutch hits on Saturday.
"I thought we did a better job," Henderson said. "We had better approaches. We did pick some guys up early in the game. We had the big inning, and I thought we played better."
The Salukis will have Monday off and then host a pair of midweek games against Ohio Valley Conference opponents. UT Martin will come to town for a 5 p.m. game Tuesday, and SIU will face Austin Peay Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. SIU has not announced a starter for either game.