Longballs lift Illinois State over SIU, 4-3

    Senior Cody Forsythe allowed three hits, all of them home runs, in the final regular season start of his career.

    Senior Cody Forsythe allowed three hits, all of them home runs, in the final regular season start of his career.
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    May 16, 2013

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    CARBONDALE, Ill. – Illinois State bested Southern Illinois 4-3 Thursday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. The Redbirds (34-18, 14-5 MVC) managed just three hits, but all three of them left the yard as they took the first game of the series from SIU (24-2-, 6-13).

    “It’s just a good college baseball game,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “It was well pitched and well played by both sides. They hit the three longballs, and that’s the difference in the game.”

    With the game tied at 2-2 in the top of the sixth, Brett Kay and Chad Hinshaw hit back-to-back solo home runs off Cody Forsythe to give Illinois State the lead for good.

    Forsythe allowed four runs off three hits in seven inning of work. He retired 20 of the 24 batters he faced, but all four hitters who reached against him scored via a home run.

    “Cody threw extremely well,” Henderson said. “He made a couple mistakes. I’m sure he would tell you that, but you can’t fault him. He gave up three hits, and he did a great job.”

    After surrendering a game-tying, two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning, Forsythe retired the next 11 batters in order before giving up the back-to-back homers in the sixth. It was the second game in a row that SIU allowed back-to-back home runs after now allowing the feat in over two years.

    Matt Jones cut the deficit to 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh with his second RBI of the game. It came on a single to right-center field. That scored Jake Welch, who had singled and stolen second base. Welch led the SIU offense with three hits and scored two of the Salukis’ three runs.

    “Welch did what a leadoff hitter has to do,” Henderson said. “He got on base, and he helped us manufacture some things. He did exactly what you need a leadoff hitter to do.”

    Illinois State starter Chris Razo threw 127 pitches en route to his fifth complete game of the season. He improved his record to 7-1. After Jones’ seventh-inning single, Razo induced an inning-ending double play and retired the final seven batters in order.

    Southern got to Razo early for two runs off four hits in the first inning. Jones scored Welch on a sacrifice fly for the first run, and Ryan Casillas extended the lead to 2-0 with a two-out infield single up the middle.

    SIU stranded seven runners in the first four innings before Razo retired 16 of the last 18 Saluki hitters of the game.

    “We hit some balls hard, and we had opportunities,” Henderson said. “In the fourth inning, we left the bases loaded with one out. That was huge. But he’s obviously a decent pitcher and has had a good year. He made pitches when he had to, so he did a good job.”

    The series will resume on Friday at 3 p.m. when Sam Coonrod takes the mound for the Salukis. It will be the second to last game played at Abe Martin Field before major renovations to the Salukis’ home facility this offseason.