Baseball snaps five-game losing streak with 8-7 victory

    Brain Bajer went 2-for-4 with an all important RBI in Wednesday's game

    Brain Bajer went 2-for-4 with an all important RBI in Wednesday's game
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    April 21, 2010

    By Jason Clay
    www.SIUSalukis.com

    Box Score

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Catcher Brian Bajer's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning gave the Southern Illinois baseball team a 8-7 win on Wednesday over Murray State at Abe Martin Field.

    Bajer's one-out single to left field in the decisive eighth inning brought home Nick Johnson from second for the game-winning run.

    "It's good to come out and actually have some fun while we're playing to get a big `W'," Bajer said when asked how it felt to rebound from a tough 13-1 loss on Tuesday. "I felt real comfortable that whole at-bat and (Ben Lady) ended up hanging a nice little curveball at my chest that I kind of tomahawked into left field."

    The win snaps a five-game losing streak for the Salukis who host Indiana State in a three-game series at home this weekend. SIU improves to 17-21 on the year while avenging a 8-3 loss to Murray State back on March 17. The `Breds fall to 19-18 overall.

    Head coach Dan Callahan said that it is amazing how 24 hours can make a difference.

    "I thought today was a must win for us and our guys responded well," Callahan said. "It was a good team effort and it's nice to see everyone contribute to a meaningful win."

    The Saluki bullpen held their own on Wednesday. Daniel Etienne provide three innings of relief, Lee Weld threw 1.2 scoreless innings and Kellen Candau got SIU through the eighth without allowing a run. Candau (3-2) picked up the win and Bryant George, after allowing singles to the first two batters in the ninth, locked in after that to pick up his second save of the year.

     

     

    "This is huge," George said of the win. "We come off a five-game losing streak and had just been losing them in the worse way possible. It's big for us, more so morally than anything. We just had to do a few little things right and had a little bit more energy, and that's a big thing for us."

    Murray State out-hit the Salukis, 12-10, but the Thoroughbreds stranded seven runners on-base. Thoroughbred pitcher Ben Lady (0-1) was credited with the loss.

    Bajer finished the day going 2-for-4 and he was the only Saluki with two hits in the game. Chris Serritella hit a first-inning, two-run homer and Austin Montgomery and Chris Murphy both drove in runs in the sixth inning that saw SIU come back from a 7-4 deficit to tie the game.

    Murray State catcher Jason Laws had a game-high three hits, but it was center fielder Elliot Frey's three RBIs that hurt SIU the most.

    Southern Illinois had a good day defensively and did not commit an error, ending a 14-game streak where they had at least one fielding miscue.

    Serritella hit his 11th homer of the season on a full count in the first inning. The Salukis added one more run in the first, as Tyler Bullock came into score from third when Nick Johnson was caught in a pickle while being picked off of first base.

    SIU added another run in the second when Michael Stalter, who led off the inning with a double, scored on a wild pitch from MSU starter Will Handlin.

    Despite the great start Murray State came back and took the lead before anyone had time to blink in the top of the third. The `Breds scored five runs off four hits in the inning that was highlighted by a two-run homer from Frey, the nine-hole hitter.

    Etienne came on the hill to momentarily stop the bleeding for the Salukis. He retired eight of the first nine batters he faced, but the Thoroughbreds got two runs off him in the sixth to expand their lead to 7-4.

    After getting just one hit in the three previous innings, SIU did some two-out damage to come back and tie the game in the sixth. Montgomery's pinch-hit double down the left field line scored one run and Chris Murphy followed with a two-RBI single to right field.

    "In the middle innings we didn't do much offensively, but then we picked it up in the sixth and our hitters gave our bench a reason to get excited again," Callahan said. "It's amazing how guys can feed off of each other and I thought we did a pretty good job of that in the sixth inning."

    The bottom of the Saluki order came through once again in the eighth. Bajer, the eight-hole hitter, gave Southern Illinois an 8-7 lead with that all important single to left field.

    George entered in the ninth, and after a pair of singles to open the inning, he got a infield popup on a bunt, a strikeout and then a foul out to end the game.

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