April 23, 2011
By Jason Clay
OMAHA, Neb. - Cody Forsythe struck out a career-high 10 batters and Southern Illinois held off Creighton's ninth-inning rally to defeat the Bluejays, 3-2, Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park.
A day after SIU (14-24, 5-3 Missouri Valley Conference) blew a one-run lead in the 10th inning to Creighton (27-9, 6-2), it appeared the same might happen again Saturday. SIU led 3-0 entering the ninth inning, and that's when Creighton woke up.
A two-run homer from Trever Adams cut SIU's lead down to one. Then CU had runners on first and second with one out, but Saluki reliever Tyler Dray was able to end the drama with a strikeout and an infield pop out to record his sixth save of the season and preserve Forsythe's masterful performance on the mound.
"I would expect that from our club," interim head coach Ken Henderson said when asked about his team bouncing back from the tough loss Friday night to win the close game Saturday. "We've had some other days where things didn't go our way, but we've played hard all year and I expect our club to be able to bounce back."
Forsythe lasted seven innings, allowing just four hits and no runs. He walked two batters, which was the first time he's given up more than one walk in 10 starts this year. Of the 26 batters Forsythe faced in the game, he threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of them and working ahead in the count has been one of the key's to his success both Saturday and the entire season.
"I just have to trust the guys to have my back when I'm out there and try throw a lot of strikes," said Forsythe, who improved to 5-3 this season and 3-0 in MVC play. He now has allowed just three runs in his last four starts.
It had been two years since a Saluki pitcher had struck out 10 or more batters in a game, but SIU's starters have done so in back-to-back days. Cameron Maldonado fanned a career-high 10 Friday night and Forsythe matched his performance Saturday.
Forsythe didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning, when Trever Adams and Alex Staehely got back-to-back singles. A one-out walk then loaded the bases, but SIU's ace got out of trouble with a pop out and a strikeout.
"I just had to stop the bleeding," Forsythe said of the dilemma he encountered in the fifth inning. "I wouldn't have minded to give up a run or two there, but it worked out much better than that. I made the pitches when I had to."
Again in the seventh Creighton tried to mount a rally, only to see Forsythe shut it down. The Jays had two singles and a walk in that inning, but Jordan Sivertsen threw one base runner out at second when Staehely over ran the bag.
Forsythe then ended the seventh by striking out Mike Gerber for his 10th strikeout of the game.
Todd Eaton threw a hitless eighth inning for the Salukis. Tyler Dray entered in the ninth and after the early trouble with Adams' homer and back-to-back walks, he was able to close out the win for SIU.