Salukis survive with 5-4 win over Wichita State

    Austin Montgomery hit his sixth home run of the season.

    Austin Montgomery hit his sixth home run of the season.
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    April 26, 2013

    Box Score

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois withstood a late rally to hold on for a 5-4 win over Wichita State on a historic Friday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. The win marks the first time in school history that the Salukis (20-21, 3-10 MVC) opened a regular series at home against Wichita State (24-20, 9-4 MVC) with a win.

    "It's good to start off a conference series on a good note instead of battling from behind all weekend," SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. "Hopefully we can build off that."

    Southern Illinois built a 5-0 lead through six innings before the Shockers rallied for a pair of runs in both the seventh and the eighth inning to turn it into a one-run game.

    Leading 5-3 after seven innings, the Salukis called on Todd Eaton for a two-inning save. He started the inning with a strikeout and a single and nearly got out of the inning when Erik Harbutz hit a ground ball right back to the mound for a potential double play. However, the play developed too slowly for SIU double up Harbutz. The next three batters recorded a hit to score two runs and cut the lead to 5-4 before a flyout ended the inning.

    Eaton pitched around a one-out double in the ninth to earn his seventh save of the season. He recorded the final out when Garrett Bayliff flew out to left-center field. Outfielders Rennie Troggio and Wes Neece collided on the play, but Troggio made the game-saving catch. Neither player was injured on the play.

    "I didn't see Wes coming until right before I caught it," Troggio said. "I figured I better just go for it or it was going to drop. With the luck we've been having lately, it felt really good to get a win like that."



    On a day that he set the school record for career starts with 45, SIU's Cody Forsythe made one of the better starts of his impressive career to take home a much-deserved win. He was unhittable for much of the game, retiring the first 17 batters in order. He finally lost the perfect game with a soft line drive single with two outs in the sixth inning.

    "I was locked in early, throwing all of my pitches for strikes," Forsythe said. "We were able to keep them off balance."

    With SIU leading 5-0, Forsythe allowed a pair of hits to start the seventh. Both runners came home to score, but after a walk, error and hit batsman, he was able to get out of the inning with the bases loaded and a 5-2 lead in tact.

    Forsythe allowed just three hits in his seven innings of work. One of the two runs against him was earned, and he improved his record to 3-0 in four career starts against Wichita State.

    "Cody was outstanding," Henderson said. "He had great feel today. He was mixing speeds and keeping hitters off balance. He had great command, and he did a great job."

    Southern took a 4-0 lead with four runs in the bottom of the third inning thanks to three Wichita State errors in the inning. The Salukis recorded three infield singles in the inning, and all three of the errors came on ground balls.

    "The one thing in that inning that I'm extremely proud of is that we put balls in play, and we made things happen," Henderson said. "We weren't hitting balls off the wall, but we were putting balls in play and putting pressure on them."

    Austin Montgomery extended the lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning with his sixth home run of the season.

    Wichita State starter Cale Elam left after the third inning with an apparent injury. He allowed all four of his runs in the bottom of the third, though only two of those runs were earned.

    The Salukis have now won four straight home games and nine of their last 11 at Abe Martin Field. They will try to extend that streak as the series continues on Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.