Brock Harding recorded two hits in Sunday's game.
May 6, 2012
By Scott Gierman
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State defeated SIU 8-1 Sunday afternoon at Duffy Bass Field. With the loss, SIU suffered its first three-game conference sweep since the Redbirds took three in a row in the Salukis last trip to Normal in 2010.
For the third consecutive day, SIU took an early 1-0 lead but could not pile on against a starting pitcher with a season ERA above 4.50. The normally potent Saluki offense was held to six total runs in the three-game series.
"We just had a bad weekend offensively," Henderson said. "That's baseball. We didn't play well. We didn't swing it well. I've said it many times. Hitting is contagious, and not hitting is contagious, and that certainly was the case this weekend."
The Redbirds took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the third inning, plating three runs thanks to aggressive baserunning. Illinois State tied the game at 1-1 when Saluki catcher Brian Bajer's throw went into left field on ISU's double steal attempt. Two batters later, Brett Kay scored from third when Ty Wiesemeyer hit a ground ball through the right side to give Illinois State a 2-1 lead. Weisemeyer stole second base and scored on Zac Johnson's single up the middle, which extended the lead to 3-1.
Illinois State was seven-for-seven in stolen base attempts against SIU in the game.
"Our pitchers didn't do a good job of holding runners," Henderson said. "I think a lot of that is just losing focus and not concentrating on what you need to do."
Brad Sorkin earned the win for Illinois State. He held the Dawgs to one run off seven hits in seven and two-thirds of an inning of work to even his season record at 3-3.
Jordan Sivertsen led off the second inning for SIU with a double off the left field wall and scored on Brian Bajer's sacrifice fly to deep center field. After that, Sorkin held Southern to five singles before leaving with two on and two out in the eighth inning.
Nathan Dorris replaced Coonrod on the mound. The first batter he faced was Matt Mirabel, who dropped a sacrifice bunt to score Eric Aguilera from third base and move Mike Hollenbeck to second base. Hollenbeck advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a ground ball through the legs of SIU second baseman Jake Welch. That gave ISU a 5-1 lead.
Illinois State put the game away with three runs against Dorris in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 8-1. The Redbirds executed back-to-back run scoring bunts in the inning. The first one went for a hit, and the second was a sacrifice.
With the loss, the Salukis fell into a third place tie with the Redbirds in the Missouri Valley standings. SIU is three games out of first place with one conference series left to play. The Salukis will look to get back on track next weekend when they host Indiana State for a three-game series at Abe Martin Field. The series is scheduled to start Friday at 3 p.m.
"We have to find a way to bounce back now and start playing good baseball heading into the tournament," Henderson said. "Once we get there anything can happen, but you have to been on a little bit of a roll going in. That's the challenge this week, to put this one behind us and move forward."