Freshman second baseman Connor Kopach went 6 for 12 in the series.
May 4, 2014
By Scott Gierman
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois surrendered five runs in the fifth inning on Sunday afternoon and fell 8-4 in the finale of its three-game series against Evansville at Itchy Jones Stadium. The Salukis (22-25, 4-23 MVC) suffered their sixth-consecutive conference series loss of the season after splitting the first two games of the series with the Purple Aces (29-16, 10-4 MVC).
After SIU took a 1-0 lead into the fifth inning, the five-spot came against starter Aaron Hauge. He had allowed only one base runner in the first four innings of the game before giving up four hits, three walks and a wild pitch as the Aces batted around in the fifth. Kyle Pollock capped the rally with a two-run bases loaded single, which knocked Hauge out of the game with SIU down 5-1. Matt Murphy came in to record the final out of the inning.
Hauge needed only 41 pitches to complete the first four innings and then threw 45 pitches in the fifth.
“Aaron was as dominant as he’s been all year in the first four innings,” Henderson said. “He was throwing up zeroes and was as good as he’s been in six weeks. Then he went out for that one inning, and I don’t know what happened. He walked the first guy and then went behind 2-0 to the second guy and just lost it in a hurry.”
Hauge took the loss as he failed to complete the fifth inning for the fourth time in six conference starts after he went 3-0 and lasted at least five full innings in each of his final four nonconference starts.
The Salukis got a run back in the bottom of the fifth. Connor Kopach reached on an error when he hit a line drive to shortstop Shain Showers that Showers dropped. Jake Welch drove in Kopach with a single up the middle to cut the lead to 5-2. It was Welch’s 250th career hit. He is only the 10th player in school history to reach that mark.
That was the only earned run against UE starter Cole Isom. He limited SIU to five hits in seven innings of work and earned his fifth win of the season.
“He throws a lot of strikes,” Welch said of Isom. “He has a good curveball. It throws you off because it’s a lot slower than you think. It got me out on my front foot. He could locate that and his fastball, which was key.”
Henderson said he felt the team was hitting the ball well but didn’t have anything to show for it in the early innings against Isom.
“We barreled up so many balls that were right at somebody,” Henderson said. “Offensively, we felt pretty good about it, and we were confident we were going to score some runs. Then we gave up the five runs. It affects you mentally, and we changed our approach. I think if we kept it close, we would’ve scored some runs.”
Southern will take some time off for final exams before resuming play on Friday, May 9 with the start of a three-game nonconference series against Mississippi Valley State at Itchy Jones Stadium.