April 29, 2007
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University (28-15, 8-7) overcame its largest deficit of the season to help Dan Callahan get his 350th victory at the Saluki helm earlier today in a 10-8 win over Missouri State (19-24, 4-11).
Exactly four days after earning his 500th career win in over 18 years as a NCAA Division I head coach, Callahan (350-360-1) became just the second skipper to win 350 or more games in SIU baseball history.
MSU, which is in the throws of a school record 12-game losing streak, scored seven runs to take a 7-2 lead in the fifth.
However, the Salukis never gave up.
SIU starter Jordan Powell had a two-run lead through four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth.
Powell hit Chris Taylor on a 0-2 pitch to start the inning, and gave up a RBI-double to Tanner Mattson on his next delivery.
With two away after Dallas Hord struck out and Ben Woodbury lined out to center, Chris Playter ripped a first-pitch double to right center and Mattson scored.
After that, Powell issued consecutive walks on eight-straight pitches, and the Bears had the bases loaded with two outs.
Brad Lawrence relieved Powell, threw a wild pitch and allowed back-to-back home runs to Ben Carlson and Matt Lawson. Those mistakes led to the last four runs of MSU's big inning.
Daniel Wells took over for Lawrence and got Taylor to ground out to mop up the mess.
SIU added two more runs in the fifth before erupting for five runs in the seventh.
Kevin Koski was hit by a pitch and Aaron Roberts walked. Adam Hills followed with a single to left and Koski scored. A walk, wild pitch, passed ball and RBI-double by Scott Elmendorf led to two more runs for the Dawgs.
"I was just trying to get a run in and was happy to get a big hit when the team needed it," said Crank.
The Bears were in position to take the lead once more, but left the tying and go-ahead runners on base in the eighth.
Matt Lawson reached on an infield single and came around to score with the help of Woodbury's base knock. With two outs and runners at first and second, Ian Reinhart fanned Playter to end the threat.
SIU countered with one final run in the bottom of the eighth before freshman Bryant George got two fly ball outs and a strikeout in a perfect ninth.
George, who saved all three of the Salukis' wins in the series, moved into a tie for fourth with Larry Beattie (1986) on the school's all-time single-season saves list. He now has nine saves on the year.
Wells (2-2) was credited with the win after allowing two hits and striking out one in 2.1 scoreless innings of middle relief.
"I needed to come in and just throw strikes and I felt like I did that," said Wells.
Pat Doyle (1-2), who retired all 13 hitters he faced in relief Friday, gave up two hits and three runs en route to his second loss.
Koski was most productive for the Dawgs offensively, going 2-for-2 with four runs scored and two walks. He was also hit by a pitch and made a pair of spectacular diving catches at crucial times in the game.
SIU had nine hits and did not commit an error on the day.
The Dawgs, who recorded their second sweep in Valley play this season, swept MSU in three games for the first time in school history.
SIU will look to extend its four-game winning streak when it hosts Illinois Tuesday at 3 p.m., CST.