Senior right-handed pitcher Nathan Forer
April 30, 2010
By Jason Clay
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Senior right-handed pitcher Nathan Forer threw a career-high 8.2 innings as he led the Southern Illinois baseball team to a 7-3 victory on Friday over SIU-Edwardsville (12-29) at Abe Martin Field.
Forer's outing was the longest by any Saluki this year and the longest since he threw eight innings in a win over Bradley on April 3. He was one out shy of recording Southern's first complete game since 2008, but was pulled with two outs in the ninth because of his high pitch count.
"In the early innings I was throwing a lot of fastballs and forcing contact," Forer said. "Our defense played unbelievable today and made my life real easy. Before I knew it I looked up at the scoreboard and we were in the sixth. We were just cruising."
His strong day was a relief to the Salukis, as they picked up their 20th win of the season (20-22 overall). Forer, who entered the week with the nation's fourth lowest ERA at 1.48, moved into the Friday starting role after Southern Illinois had lost four of its five previous Friday games.
"He had been throwing like a Friday guy, so it was time to make a move," head coach Dan Callahan said of moving Forer to the Friday starter. "I think he's been pitching aggressively and has been pitching well.
"I'm a little disappointed for him. We blew a win last week for him and then today we give up two earned runs when he wasn't in the game, but that's baseball. We got a win and Nathan pitched well."
Forer (2-2) tied his season-high with five strikeouts on the day. He scattered 11 hits and was charged with three earned runs, but the last two came in the ninth when SIUE got a pair of hits off him and scored after he was relieved. His ERA after his seventh start now stands at 1.75.
The Saluki offense had 14 hits behind Forer, giving SIU its 22nd game this year and third consecutive with 10 or more hits.
Four different Salukis had two or more hits on the day. First baseman Chris Serritella was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and shortstop Michael Stalter went 3-for-4 with one run driven in. Both players had doubles in the game, which accounted for SIU's only extra-base hits on the windy day.
Chris Murphy and Blake Pinnon both had two hits, giving them their 17th multiple-hit games of the season. That figure leads the team as the 1-2 hitters in the Saluki order are battling for the team's crown.
Stalter and Murphy led off the third inning with back-to-back singles and were moved up a base by a sacrifice bunt from Pinnon. Serritella and Tyler Bullock followed with RBI singles to give SIU a 2-0 lead.
Stalter gave SIU a 3-0 lead in the second with his one-hop double to the wall in right-center, scoring Tony Lepore from first.
Forer had been cruising along, but SIUE finally got to him in the top of the sixth with three hits. Brett Lancaster was the third Cougar to single, and his shot through the right side of the infield plated their first run of the game.
Southern gave Forer three insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh. A Pinnon single followed by a double from Serritella put runners on second and third. Austin Montgomery's single up the middle plated the two runners and the Saluki tacked on another run, which came on an error, to go up 6-1.
Serritella drove in his second run of the game in the eighth on a single through the right side, scoring Murphy for the second time in the game.
Forer fell just shy of recording SIU's first complete game since 2008, as his pitch count of 126 was too high and he finished by throwing 8.2 innings.
Nonetheless Southern Illinois walked away with a good win on a Friday, which hasn't come easily for the Dawgs. The Salukis and SIU-Edwardsville are schedule to meet for game two of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m.