Salukis swept with 4-3 loss at Illinois State

    Aaron Hauge allowed one run off three hits but took home a no decision Sunday.

    Aaron Hauge allowed one run off three hits but took home a no decision Sunday.
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    April 27, 2014

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    NORMAL, Ill. – For the third day in a row, Southern Illinois could not parlay a strong starting pitching performance into a win as Illinois State came from behind late to hand the Salukis a 4-3 loss Sunday afternoon at Duffy Bass Field. With the loss, SIU (21-23, 3-12 MVC) suffered its second consecutive weekend series sweep. The Redbirds (29-12, 10-5 MVC) have now won 11-consecutives games against Southern.

    “It was not a good day to hit with the wind blowing in extremely hard,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “Those were good pitchers. We had three great starts this weekend, but didn’t find a way to win.”

    Illinois State rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to erase a two-run Saluki lead and take a 4-3 advantage. Matt Murphy took the loss for SIU. He started the inning against the top of the Redbirds’ order after inducing an inning-ending double play from the only batter he faced in the seventh.

    Jack Czeszewski led off the eighth with a single, and Daniel Dwyer followed with a walk. Murphy then surrendered a single to Paul DeJong to score Czeszewski and cut SIU’s lead to 3-2.

    “We didn’t throw strikes,” Henderson said. “(Murphy) got behind all three guys. You can’t get behind the meat of any order.”

    Tyler Dray replaced Murphy with still no outs in the inning and trying for a two-inning save. After a sac bunt, Dray hit Joe Kelch to load the bases for Brock Stewart. Stewart lined a single up the middle to plate Dwyer and DeJong and give the Redbirds a 4-3 lead. It was Dray’s third blown save in 10 chances this season.

    “It doesn’t matter who we threw there,” Henderson said. “We just didn’t get it done. You have to get ahead of good hitters.”

    SIU took a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning as the Dawgs matched a season high with five hits, all of them singles, in the inning. Ryan Rosthenhausler led off the inning with an infield single. After Connor Kopach reached on an infield single, Parker Osborne drew a walk to put two men on base. Jake Welch drove in Kopach with a single to right field, which tied the game at 1-1. It was Welch’s second of three hits on the day.

    “That was a good day for him,” Henderson said. “If he just uses his hands and takes a good approach, he’s a great little hitter.”

    Ryan Casillas and Cody Daily backed up Welch with a pair of run-scoring singles to stretch the lead to two runs. Jake Hand followed with the Salukis’ fourth-straight single to load the bases.

    “It was very encouraging that we finally got something going offensively,” Casillas said. “It didn’t work out in the end, but I feel like we’re starting to get the bats going.”

    However, the inning ended when Tyler Rolland grounded into an inning-ending double play.

    “We left some runs out there,” Henderson said. “With bases loaded and one out, we have to get those runs in, but it was encouraging that we saw some better swings.”

    Aaron Hauge bounced back with a strong start after struggling in his first four conference outings. The junior allowed one run off three hits in six and a third innings of work. Three of his four walks came in the first three innings.

    “Hauge threw strikes,” Henderson said. “He had a little bit better velocity and had better command of his offspeed stuff.”

    He worked out of a bases loaded jam without allowing a run in the second inning. The only damage against him came in the fourth when Illinois State plated a run off three singles. From there he retired eight in a row. He then gave way to Murphy after issuing a one-out walk in the seventh.

    Southern Illinois starters combined to allow four earned runs in 23 and a third innings of work this weekend.

    SIU will look to rebound with a road game against Illinois on Tuesday at 6 p.m.