Austin Montgomery drove in four runs in Saturday's game and now leads the team with 44 RBI.
April 28, 2012
By Scott Gierman
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - SIU evened its series with Missouri State and climbed back to within a half game of first place in the MVC with an 8-3 win over the Bears (30-14, 9-4 MVC) Saturday afternoon at Hammons Field. Southern (24-19, 9-5 MVC) scored five runs with two swings of the bat in the top of the fifth.
"It's a great bounce back win after last night's loss, in which we played well," SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. "To lose that game as we did and come back and play hard today is huge. It's a character game, and we showed up and did a great job."
With two men in scoring position and the game tied at 2-2 in the fifth, the Bears intentionally walked Chris Serritella to load up the bases for Austin Montgomery. The Salukis third baseman made them pay with a three-run double, which gave SIU a 5-2 lead. Montgomery now has four hits and 11 RBI in his last five games.
"It was a curveball," Montgomery said. "I haven't see hardly anything but curveballs so I was kind of expecting it in the back of my mind. They threw me one I could hit, and I got a good piece on it."
Jordan Sivertsen hit the next pitch over the left field wall for his ninth home run of the season to extend the lead to 7-2.
"It was a good AB by Jordie," Henderson said. "(MSU starter Pierce Johnson) had just given up three runs and probably lost a little focus, and Jordie jumped all over the next pitch."
Sivertsen now trails only teammate Chris Serritella by one for the league's home run lead. Sivertsen's two RBI moved him past Serritella on the school's all-time list with 133 in his career.
Missouri State's Johnson allowed seven of Southern's eight runs in his five innings of work. It was the most runs Johnson allowed all season as his ERA jumped from 2.28 to 2.98 with the loss.
After being shutout for the first time all season in the first game of the series, SIU set the tone early on Saturday with two runs in the top of the first inning. Jake Welch led off the game with a double over the right fielder's head and scored when Donny Duschinsky reached on an error.
"The first inning was huge to get those two runs on the board," Henderson said. "Jake Welch's AB was the biggest AB of the game because he smokes a ball and ends up with at double. Then the rest of the hitters say okay, we had hit this guy."
Serritella just missed his 11th home run of the season but drove in Duschinsky with a double off the wall in right-center field to give Maldonado and the Salukis a 2-0 lead before the Bears first at-bat.
"That was big," Maldonado said of the early lead. "I just came out and tried to throw a zero after that. (Missouri State) got a few runs, but the hitters did a good job to put us back on top."
MSU scored a run off Maldonado to cut SIU's lead to 7-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning on Kevin Medrano's RBI ground out, but Southern expanded the lead back to five runs on Donny Duschinsky's eighth inning sacrifice fly.
The bullpen tossed three scoreless innings to keep Southern in control of the game. Tyler Dray pitched a scoreless seventh inning. After walking the leadoff man, he induced a double play to keep the momentum on SIU's side.
Matt Murphy allowed three singles in his two scoreless innings to finish the game and keep SIU in the thick of the MVC race.
"It's big," Henderson said. "It's another win that keeps us in the hunt. If we lost today then we're two and a half back with seven to go, and you're not really in the hunt so we need to do well head-to-head against the people above us so it keeps us right there."
Southern will have a chance to take the series and take over first place with a win in the series finale on Sunday. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Springfield. Freshman Sam Coonrod will make the start for SIU.