May 12, 2006
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Pat Tumilty's three-run homer proved to be the difference, as the University of Evansville (30-19, 11-8) defeated Southern Illinois (32-19, 11-8), 7-4, earlier today in the opener of a big three-game Missouri Valley Conference series at Abe Martin Field.
SIU starting right-hander Jordan Powell struck out every other UE hitter in the first inning, but the third strikeout came a little too late.
Jim Viscomi led off the game with a single to left and went to third on a one-out double by Kasey Wahl. Moments after Kirk Bacsu struck out, Tumilty smashed the first pitch of his at-bat over the wall in left center to give the Aces an early 3-0 lead.
After SIU got on the board with one run courtesy of an RBI-double by Matt Brewer in the second, UE answered with three more runs in the third.
Viscomi was hit by a pitch to start the inning and went to second on a passed ball. Kern Watts followed with a single before Bacsu doubled down the left field line to plate Viscomi. Watts, who also went to third on Bacsu's extra-base hit, touched home on a sacrifice fly by Tumilty. Bacsu then scored on Robbie Minor's single to push the Purple Aces' lead to 6-1.
SIU went to work during its turn in the third, and as a result, answered UE's second three-run inning with a couple more runs of its own.
Gerrard's fourth homer of the season came shortly after Cody Adams escaped a one-out bases loaded jam with an inning-ending double play in the top half of that frame.
Gerrard's homer, however, marked the last threat for SIU, as UE ace Adam Rogers calmly retired the last six Saluki hitters in order.
Rogers, who picked up his sixth-straight win, moved to 7-3 on the year. He went the distance, allowing 10 hits and four runs, while striking out five.
"Rogers pitched well and made the pitches when he needed to," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "He is a good competitor."
Powell fell to 6-4 after scattering 10 hits and giving up six runs in seven innings of work. He also struck out five.
Both Rogers and Powell also went without allowing a walk on the day.
UE, who is unbeaten at 26-0 this season when leading after the eighth inning, was led by Viscomi, Watts and Bacsu, who each had two hits.
UE, who ranks atop the league in fielding, also had an uncharacteristic two errors.
SIU was led by Gerrard (2), Alvarez (2), Dean Cademartori (2) and Emrick (2), who combined for eight of Southern's 10 hits.
"Overall, we didn't deserve to win today," said Saluki head coach Callahan. "We gave too many at-bats away and didn't capitalize on our scoring opportunities."
SIU stranded runners in scoring position with one or no outs on four occasions.
The Salukis and Aces resume their series tomorrow at 2 p.m., CST. Senior left-hander Tyler Norrick will square off against UE right-hander Ben Norton.