Austin Montgomery hit a ninth inning sacrifice fly and just missed a game-winning grand slam.
May 12, 2012
By Scott Gierman
CARBONDALE, Ill. - SIU's ninth inning rally fell short as the Salukis (25-25, 9-11 MVC) lost 7-5 to Indiana State (39-12, 12-6 MVC) Saturday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. With the loss, Southern has now dropped the first two games of the series against the first place Sycamores and lost five in a row overall, matching the team's longest losing streak of the season.
SIU trailed 7-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth inning and forced the Syacmores to use three pitchers in the final frame. After Chris Serritella drew a bases loaded walk against Reggie Hochstedler to cut the deficit to 7-4, Austin Montgomery hit a deep foul ball into the wind that nearly produced a game winning grand slam. A couple pitches later, he settled for a sacrifice fly on another deep fly ball to make it a 7-5 game.
"I knew the way the ball has been carrying the past two days that it probably wasn't going to get out," SIU Coah Ken Henderson said. "But he hit it well. It was a good AB, and that's all you can ask from him."
Hochstedler, who earned the save on Friday, left after Montgomery's at-bat. Hochstedler's replacement, Chris Machado, got Jordan Sivertsen to fly out to center field to end the game with the tying run on base.
"We had good ABs in the ninth, but we gave away some ABs early in the game that hurt us," Henderson said.
ISU built a big lead in the second inning as Southern committed four errors in the inning, which led to six unearned runs. The ugly second frame started when Rob Ort hit a ground ball to first base, which Chris Serritella bobbled. His toss to the base was not in time. The mistake was compounded when John Hedges hit a potential double play ball to third base. Instead of erasing the runners, the Salukis committed two errors on the play to put runners at the corners with nobody out.
Lucas Hileman singled to score Ort and give ISU a 1-0 lead. Ryan Walterhouse then dropped down a sacrifice bunt, but it loaded the bases as the Salukis unsuccessfully tried to get the lead runner on the play. After a sac fly made it 2-0, the Salukis committed their fourth error of the inning when catcher Luke Mottashed threw the ball over the head of Montgomery with the runners in motion on a pitch that was called for ball four. A safety squeeze followed by three more hits put the Dawgs down 6-0 after an inning and a half.
Sean Manaea took home the win for the Sycamores. He pitched much of the day will a comfortable lead. The sophomore allowed a pair of runs off six hits and struck out seven in five and a third innings of work.
"He was good," Sivertsen said. "From the third until the sixth, he pretty much shut us down. We had some bad at-bats though. We took some pitches we shouldn't have, but he was good today, and he had his curveball working."
Nathan Dorris made the start and took the loss for SIU. Although none of the runs were earned in the second inning, he faced 11 batters, surrendered five hits and threw 42 pitches in the inning. The junior lefty allowed just one earned run in his six innings of work. He walked four batters and struck out five.
"Dorris did a great job after the second inning," Henderson said, "but in that inning, he had to minimize the damage. They had two runners on with no one out, and it could've been a two-run inning, not a six-run inning. Once we got past that, he showed what he's capable of doing by throwing up zeros the next four innings."
SIU cut into ISU's lead in the bottom of the second inning. Jordan Sivertsen led off with his third double in his last three games. He scored on Brock Harding's RBI single. Harding advanced to second base on an error but was stranded there when the inning ended.
After Harding's single, Manaea retired 11 in a row before allowing three consecutive singles and a bases loaded walk to Harding in the sixth inning. That cut the ISU lead to 7-2. However, the Salukis left the bases loaded.
Aaron Snyder pitched three scoreless innings out of the bullpen for SIU and held the Sycamores to a pair of hits.
The Salukis have lost three consecutive series after winning seven of their first nine three-game series. The Dawgs and will try to avoid a second consecutive weekend sweep when they face Indiana State in the finale on Sunday.
"We have to salvage one tomorrow," Sivertsen said. "We need to get going. This is five in a row so tomorrow's a big game for us to turn it around heading into next week."
The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Abe Martin Field. Sam Coonrod will take the mound for the Salukis against Ryan Torgerson for Indiana State.
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