Daily homers twice, SIU downs MVSU 8-2 in series opener

    Sam Coonrod allowed one hit in 6.0 scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season.

    Sam Coonrod allowed one hit in 6.0 scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season.
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    May 9, 2014

    By Scott Gierman

    Box Score

    CARBONDALE, Ill. – Cody Daily became the first Saluki in over two years to have a multi-home run game as Southern Illinois opened its final home series of the year with an 8-2 win over Mississippi Valley State Friday night at Itchy Jones Stadium. Daily hit a pair of two-run home runs for the Salukis (22-26) in their first-ever meeting with the Delta Devils (4-35).

    “It was an efficient game,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “Those were two of the best swings Cody Daily has taken all year.”

    Daily opened the scoring with his first long ball in the bottom of the fourth after Jake Welch led off the inning with a single. With the Salukis still leading 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Daily doubled the lead with his second two-run home run of the game, a line drive to left-center field, to stretch the lead to 4-0. He now has five home runs on the season.

    “I was actually surprised (the second home run) got out,” Daily said. “I thought it was going to go over his head and maybe one-hop the wall, but it ended up clearing the fence. I was pretty surprised, but I was glad it got out and we got a win tonight.”

    That was more than enough support for Sam Coonrod to break his nine-decision losing streak. The junior had a no-hitter through four innings before allowing a leadoff single in the fifth. It was the only hit he allowed in six innings of work. The scoreless effort lowered his season ERA to 3.11. Coonrod issued three walks and struck out five. Pitching on a tighter pitch limit than normal with a shortened week ahead, he threw an efficient 69 pitches in his six innings.



    “Sam was good,” Henderson said. “He pounded the zone. He was down in the zone. He threw a ton of strikes and he had good velocity. He was sharp tonight. He was pretty efficient. We didn’t expect him to get that deep into it.”

    The Salukis originally planned to throw Coonrod for the first half of the game and piggyback Todd Eaton for the final few innings, but decided to hold back Eaton to start Saturday’s game when Coonrod pitched deeper than expected.

    The Delta Devils scored both of their runs against reliever Kyle Pauly. In the seventh inning, Pauly walked Alex Bravo with two outs, and Jonathan Parker tripled to cut SIU’s lead to 4-1. MVSU manufactured another run in the eighth to shrink the lead to 4-2.

    Lee Weld relieved Pauly to record the final two outs of the eighth with a runner stranded at third base.

    Southern tacked on four runs with a two-out rally in the bottom of the eighth inning to turn a relatively tight game into a more comfortable win.

    Ryan Casillas and Daily began the rally with a pair of two-out walks. Jake Hand then singled up the middle to drive in Casillas and extend the lead to 5-2. Matt Jones followed with a two-run double to the left field corner to make it a 7-2 game. After Tyler Rolland drew the third walk of the inning, Will Farmer capped the rally with a single to score Jones from second base.

    Pitching in a non-save situation, closer Tyler Dray pitched a scoreless, hitless ninth to complete the win. After issuing a leadoff walk, he induced a double play from Bravo and struck out Parker to end the game.

    Southern Illinois has won four of its last five nonconference series and will try to make it five out of six when the series resumes Saturday at 4 p.m. at Itchy Jones Stadium.