April 16, 2006
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Grant Gerrard had three hits, Dean Cademartori knocked in three runs and Southern lllinois University (24-15, 5-4) blew the game open with a three-run sixth inning to clinch its second Missouri Valley Conference series win with a 7-2 victory over No. 22 Creighton (21-11, 6-6) earlier today.
SIU moved to 6-3 against Top-25 opponents this season and has won its last seven of eight series against league opponents. Also, with a Missouri State loss today, the Salukis could move into a second-place tie with the Bears, thus setting up a key showdown between the two teams in Springfield next weekend.
"This was a big series win for our team," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "I thought this was the closest we came to putting all three phases of the game together in a win this season."
The Salukis jumped on CU early and never looked back.
SIU led 4-0 after plating one run in the first, two in the third and another in the fourth, before a two-run homer by Zach Daeges narrowed the gap to, 4-2, in the sixth.
The Salukis, however, answered Daeges' smash with three runs of their own in the bottom half of that inning.
Tyler Lairson led things off with a single to left out of the nine-hole and moved to second on a fielder's choice sacrifice bunt by Kevin Koski. Scott Elmendorf's sacrifice bunt followed that, and SIU had runners on second and third with one out. Gerrard, who singled in his first three at-bats of the game, was then intentionally walked to load the bases. Moments later, Erik Alvarez grounded out to third and Lairson scored. Dean Cademartori's two-out single through the left side came next, as the Dawgs extended their lead to 7-2.
"I thought I had some of my best stuff today," said Brewer. "I felt comfortable out there and knew this was a big game."
Offensively, SIU had eight hits on the day, with seven coming from Gerrard, Cademartori and Bret Maugeri.
Gerrard went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, Cademartori finished at 2-for-3 with three RBI and Maugeri went 2-for-4 with one RBI.
SIU hits the road for its next eight games, beginning Wednesday when it visits Eastern Illinois. First pitch is at 3 p.m., CST.