April 27, 2012
By Scott Gierman
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - SIU snapped a five-game winning streak and lost to Missouri State 1-0 on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday evening at Hammons Field. With the loss, SIU (23-19, 8-5 MVC) missed an opportunity to take first place in the conference from the Bears (30-13, 9-3 MVC).
With the aid of a 30 mile per hour wind, Kennan Maddox hit a fly ball just over the 315 sign and a few feet away from the left field foul pole. It was just the fifth hit surrendered by Saluki starter Cody Forsythe in the game.
Forysthe was two outs away from tossing nine scoreless innings in his second consecutive start but instead took the loss, his second of the season. He was brilliant through eight innings, never allowing a runner past second base.
"We wanted to keep them off balance and make sure they didn't time up a lot of fastballs," Forsythe said. "We wanted to move their feet on some pitches inside, which I thought we did a good job of. We kept them off balance, and I think we did a good job executing the game plan today."
Forsythe was just as impressive as MSU starter Nick Petree, who entered the game with the best ERA in the nation. Forsythe's outing was even more impressive considering it came against a Bears team that was hitting .324 in 11 MVC games.
"I never felt like they were close to scoring," SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. "I felt like he was in command and in control. We knew he was going to give us a chance, and I can't say enough about how good he was. He deserved better."
Jordan Sivertsen led off the ninth for SIU with a single, and Brock Harding sacrificed him to second base. However Brian Bajer and pinch hitter John Menken both struckout against Bears closer Tyler Burgess to end the threat.
"We had plenty of guys on base," Henderson said, "and we couldn't even put a ball in play when we got runners in scoring position."
Petree scattered five hits in seven scoreless innings and struck out nine Salukis. He pitched out of his toughest jam in the top of the sixth when Chris Serritella led off with a single up the middle and Austin Montgomery drew a walk. SIU moved both runners into scoring position but could not get them home.
"He didn't give us balls to smoke," Henderson said, "but he gives you balls to put in play, and we just didn't take a lot of pride in putting balls in play. For the first time in a long time, we did a poor job of taking what the pitcher gave us. He's not going to adjust to us, and we never adjusted to his pitching."
Petree lowered his season ERA to 0.70, the best in all of Division I college baseball, and extended his scoreless streak to 56 and a third innings.
Southern will have to turn it around quickly for the second game of the three-game series with a 2 p.m. game Saturday at Hammons Field. Cameron Maldonado will make the start for SIU.
"If you're tough, you put it behind you as quick as possible," Henderson said. "This is a tough one. We're battling for the league lead, and to lose that way and to get shut out, it's a tough one. But hopefully we'll have the character to bounce back and to take care of them tomorrow."