Austin Montgomery's three-run ninth inning homer cut the deficit to 4-3.
April 19, 2013
OMAHA, Neb. – Southern Illinois’ ninth inning comeback fell short in a 4-3 loss to Creighton Friday night at TD Ameritrade Park. The Salukis (18-19, 2-8 MVC) could not manage a hit through the first eight innings of the game, but nearly snuck past the Bluejays (20-9, 6-4 MVC) with a late surge.
With SIU trailing 4-0, SIU’s Rennie Troggio broke up Tommy Strunc’s no-hit bid on the first pitch of the ninth inning with a ground ball that rolled up the middle, just past the diving shortstop Alex Staehely. That knocked the freshman starter out of the game after 121 pitches.
Matt Jones doubled reliever Jake Peter’s first pitch down the right field line, and Austin Montgomery followed with a home run to cut the deficit to 4-3. However, the next three Saluki hitters went quietly to end the game.
Southern struggled to make contact against Strunc in the early innings. He struck out the first five SIU hitters and eight of the first 10. Strunc improved his record to 5-1 with the win.
“We had bad approaches at the plate,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “We tried to do too much for the first time in about three weeks, and we just didn’t take good swings. (Strunc) did a good job, but we didn’t do a good job making adjustments at the plate.”
The Salukis got their first base runner in the fourth inning when Matt Jones drew a two-out walk, but they could not advance him past first base.
SIU’s Cody Forsythe was not as sharp as usual, but still pitched well. He allowed four runs, three of them earned, off eight hits in six innings of work. All three of the runs against him came on a three-run homer.
“Cody did a good job because he didn’t have any feel today,” Henderson said. “And yet he basically shouldn’t have given up any runs. That ball was going to be 30 or 40 feet foul, and the wind brought it back in and took it over the fence. He did a great job considering how he felt.”
Creighton took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Landon Lucansky drew a walk and came home to score on Kevin Lamb’s single to left field.
SIU’s three hits in the game matched it’s season low for the year, and Montgomery's ninth inning homer prevented the Salukis from being shutout for the third time this season.
“You’re not going to have success offensively with those swings,” Henderson said. “I would expect our hitters to come back tomorrow and make adjustments and do what we’ve been doing the last two weeks.”