Jake Welch drove in a career high four runs and recorded his fourth triple of the season.
May 17, 2012
By Scott Gierman
CARBONDALE, Ill. – SIU put together a dominant performance to take the first game of its series against IPFW with an 8-0 win Friday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. It was the second shutout victory of the season for the Salukis (26-27), who held the Mastodons (16-38) to four hits and snapped a seven-game losing streak.
After flying out with the bases loaded to end the second inning, Saluki second baseman Jake Welch took advantage of a second chance in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded once again, Welch shot a bases-clearing triple to the gap in right-center field to give SIU a 3-0 advantage. That hit shifted the momentum not only for Welch, but for the Saluki hitters, who had stranded five runners in the first three innings.
“Jake Welch came through with a crucial and a clutch hit,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “After he cleared the bases, then suddenly we started rolling, and we had some confidence. That was the biggest AB of the game.”
Chris Serritella followed with a double to score Welch and extend the lead to 4-0. Serritella now has 22 doubles on the season, one shy of matching the single season school record.
Although he did not have his best stuff, SIU starter Cody Forsythe kept the IPFW hitters off balance to pick up the win in his final regular season start of the year. Forsythe held the Mastodons to two hits in six scoreless innings. He improved his record to 4-4 and matched a career high with 11 strikeouts. He did not issue any walks. Forsythe set the tone by striking out the side in the first inning and recorded at least one punchout in every inning he pitched.
Southern showed patience at the plate against an IPFW pitching staff that is among the nation’s leaders in walks issued. The Salukis drew 12 walks in the game. Seven of those free passes came against starter Chuck Weaver, who fell to 4-7 on the season with the loss.
Weaver left with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth inning. He had already allowed one run in the inning, courtesy of three walks and a wild pitch. His replacement, Kyle Sorensen, promptly walked Austin Montgomery to give SIU a 6-0 lead.
The Salukis pounded out 12 hits in the game, their highest total in their last 15 games. Welch said he felt like the offense may have turned a corner with the effort.
“We’ve been hitting the ball hard the past few games, but we just haven’t had the right luck,” Welch said. “Today we hit the ball hard, and some more hits fell, and I feel like things are starting to change.”
Welch set a new career high when he drove in his fourth run of the game with an RBI single in the seventh. Austin Montgomery capped the scoring with an eighth inning RBI single, which was his second hit of the day.
IPFW started the seventh inning with back-to-back singles against Matt Murphy. However on the second hit, Daren Boss tried to advanced from first to third and was gunned down by a great throw from Saluki center fielder Rennie Troggio. Murphy then retired the last eight batters of the game in order to record his first save of the year.
After seeing his club struggle over the past two weeks, Henderson said it is important for the team to gain some confidence in the final series of the regular season.
“We need to leave this series playing with more confidence,” Henderson said, “and you do that by playing well. We didn’t play poorly today. We played pretty good defense. We left some runs on the base paths, but we had a lot of good ABs too so hopefully we can gain some confidence and play even better tomorrow.”
It was not all good news for SIU as right fielder Nick Johnson left the game with a knee injury after the fifth inning. He hyperextended his right knee lunging toward first base in an attempt to beat out an inning-ending double play. He will await official word on the extent of the injury before a timetable is set for his return, but Johnson is expected to miss Friday's game.
The series will continue on Friday as the Salukis will look to get their season record back to .500 with the first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. at Abe Martin Field. Nathan Dorris will make the start on the mound for SIU, trying for his team best seventh win of the season.