April 30, 2006
By Jeff Honza
WATERLOO, Iowa - Timely two-out hits, including a single by Mark Frieske and a ringing double by Jesse Oster helped Northern Iowa (22-22, 6-9) overcome a four-run deficit to beat Southern Illinois (29-18, 8-7), 8-6, earlier today at a soggy Riverfront Stadium. The last place Panthers won the three-game set.
UNI trailed by four before tying the game when it plated one run in the sixth and three in the seventh.
The Panthers, after walking the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth, got out of the inning unscathed.
UNI's leadoff walk by Deric Manrique then put the go-ahead run on in the bottom half of that inning. Manrique, who advanced to second on a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt by Boone Bugger, gave the Panthers their first lead when he touched home on Frieske's single up the middle. Oster's double, which came after a Saluki pitching change, scored Frieske, and that was all the Panthers needed to put the Dawgs away.
SIU stranded a total of 15 baserunners and the Saluki bullpen suffered a rare collapse late in the game.
Elmendorf smacked a one-out double just out of the reach of diving UNI left fielder Curt Bradley to break a 2-2 tie. Kevin Koski, who walked ahead of Elmendorf, scored the go-ahead run from first.
UNI then went to right-handed reliever Mark Bennett, who inherited a 2-1 count from Tim Smid. Bennett's first pitch to Maugeri was driven over the wall in left center, giving the Dawgs a 6-2 advantage. For Maugeri, the home run marked his second of the year and first since Feb. 12.
Brett Douglas homered off left-hander Danny Wells to start the UNI sixth. The Panthers then capitalized on a big error by Maugeri to tie the game up in their three-run seventh.
Frieske singled down the left field line and Oster was hit by a pitch to give the Panthers runners at first and second with one out. Frieske stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Douglas. Back-to-back two-out hits by Brett Featherston and Brett Douglas followed to knock in another Panther run.
With runners on the corners, Cody Adams appeared to have Douglas picked off when he threw to Maugeri at second, but instead of trying to catch Douglas in a run down, Maugeri threw to the plate. The throw was wide, and Featherston scored to tie the game at 6-6.
SIU had one last chance in the ninth when Koski drew a one-out walk, but he remained at first after Elmendorf flied out to right and Gerrard struck out.
Zach Zirbel (2-1), one of six Panther relievers to take the mound, was credited with the win after striking out one and walking one in one-third of an inning. Oster earned his first save.
Adams suffered the loss for SIU. He fell to 4-3 after allowing two hits and two runs, while walking one in an inning of work.
The Saluki bullpen gave up six hits and six runs between the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
SIU, who dropped its first-ever series to UNI, returns to Carbondale to host Indiana State next weekend. The Dawgs and Sycamores open a three-game series at 3 p.m., CST, on May 5.