Kyle Pauly took the loss despite allowing just one run in 4.1 innings of relief.
April 25, 2014
By Scott Gierman
NORMAL, Ill. – Southern Illinois lost 3-2 to Illinois State in 12 innings on a bases-loaded walk Friday night at Duffy Bass Field. For the Salukis, it was their nation-leading 10th extra-inning game and 21st one-run game. With the loss, SIU (21-21, 3-10 MVC) has lost its last nine games against the Redbirds (27-12, 8-5 MVC).
The winning run came home after Saluki reliever Kyle Pauly intentionally walked Paul DeJong to load the bases for Mike Hollenbeck with one out. Pauly went 3-0 to Hollenbeck before battling back to even the count, but the final pitch bounced in the turf and hopped to the backstop. That ended Pauly’s scoreless innings streak at 19 and two-thirds.
It was the longest outing of Pauly’s career. The left-handed freshman kept the game tied for four and a third scoreless innings before Sean Beesley crossed the plate to end the game. Pauly struck out a career-high five hitters.
“You can’t pitch any better than that,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “Kyle Pauly did a phenomenal job. We had the matchup we wanted. We had our best reliever and left-on-left for the next two hitters. That’s asking a lot of a guy to get out of that jam.”
Southern knotted the score at 2-2 in the top of the sixth. Connor Kopach led off the inning with his first career triple. After a hit batsman and an intentional walk loaded the bases, Kopach came home on Jake Hand’s sac fly. Hand also had two successful sacrifice bunts in the game as SIU had a measure of success playing small ball.
“Jake Hand did a great job with a sac fly and getting a couple sac bunts down, and it led to a couple runs,” Henderson said. “Rather than play for two or three runs (in one inning), we thought we should play for a run here and there. We got the guys in scoring position, and as we’ve done for 42 games now, we didn’t pick them up.”
The Salukis best opportunity to break the 2-2 tie came in the ninth inning when Daily led off the inning with a double to left-center field. After Hand bunted him to third, Tyler Rolland drew a walk to put runners at the corners. Matt Jones attempted a safety squeeze bunt, but could not get it down. He and Will Farmer were retired to end the inning with the score still tied.
The Salukis stranded a runner at third base three times in the game.
“That game was not lost in the 12th inning,” Henderson said. “That game was lost in the fifth, sixth and ninth inning on offense.”
Sam Coonrod pitched well for SIU but took a no decision. He allowed two runs off seven hits in seven inning of work. The junior had runners on base in every inning he pitched but worked out of multiple jams to strand eight Redbirds on base. Four of Coonrod’s six strikeouts came in his final three innings of work.
“Sam was awfully good,” Henderson said. “If you give up two runs in seven innings, you’ll have a chance to win on Friday night. That’s what you have to do. You have to keep it a low scoring affair and try to scratch out some runs. He did a good job.”
SIU pushed a run across in the top of the fifth inning to take a 1-0 lead. Daily drew a leadoff walk and moved to second base on Hand’s first sacrifice bunt of the day. Rolland singled to right field to put runners at the corners, and Jones beat out an infield single to drive in Daily. However, the inning ended with two strikeouts with two men in scoring position.
Illinois State took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth on Paul DeJong’s two-run home run. It came after Coonrod hit Beesley to start the inning.
Illinois State starter Dan Savas struck out 11 Salukis in eight and a third innings of work. SIU struck out 13 times in the game, one shy of the season high that was set last Saturday in a 12-inning game last Saturday at Wichita State.
The Salukis will try to even the series on Saturday when Todd Eaton takes the mound for SIU. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.