Jake Welch drove in all four of SIU's runs Saturday and moved into fifth place on the school's all-time list with 219 games played.
May 17, 2014
By Scott Gierman
DALLAS – Southern Illinois ended the regular season with a 10-4 loss to Dallas Baptist Saturday afternoon at Horner Ballpark. The Patriots (36-18, 14-7 MVC) completed a three-game sweep of the Salukis (25-29, 4-17 MVC), who were swept for the third time in conference play this season.
Dallas Baptist took control of the game in the first inning following an SIU mistake. David Martinelli gave DBU a 4-0 lead when he hit a two-out, opposite field grand slam over the 16-foot wall in left field. All of the runs were unearned as the grand slam came after an error by Ryan Rosthenhausler on a hard hit ground ball that got past the Saluki third baseman.
“That was the big moment of the ballgame even though it was the first inning,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “That’s kind of demoralizing. It was a day when we needed things to go well and to get off to a good start. Four unearned runs right off the bat certainly didn’t help.”
DBU added a run in the second inning to stretch the lead to 5-0 on Daniel Salter’s RBI single to right field. It came with two outs after Austin Listi hit a bloop double that landed between three SIU fielders
The Patriots ballooned their lead to 10-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning as the first five batters of the inning all reached and scored. Austin McPheron allowed a leadoff single to Nash Knight followed by an RBI single to Drew Turbin before departing the game with SIU down 6-0.
Matt Murphy relieved McPheron and did not retire any of the four batters he faced. After allowing an RBI single off the bat of Mike Wesolowski, Murphy hit Listi and walked Daniel Salters to load the bases for Justin Wall. Wall hit a chopper back up the box that Murphy tried to barehand, but it fell in for an RBI single to stretch the lead to 8-0. That chased Murphy from the game.
McPheron took the loss for the Salukis in his first Missouri Valley Conference appearance. He was charged with seven runs off eight hits in three-plus inning of work. Only three of the seven runs against him were earned.
The Salukis finally got on the board in the top of the fifth with Jake Welch’s sacrifice fly to center field to make it a 10-1 game. That kept SIU out of position to be run-ruled.
“I was working in BP to stay more up the middle and not pull as many balls,” Welch said. “I think seeing guys who are pumping mid-90s sure helped me stay up the middle and not pull a bunch of balls.”
Welch drove in all four of the Salukis’ runs. He hit a three-run home run in the ninth to make the final score a little more respectable.
“(Welch) said that’s the first one he barreled up all weekend, so hopefully he can carry that into the tournament,” Henderson said. “That certainly gives you a little bit of confidence. He hit that ball well.”
After the Patriots scored 10 runs in the first four innings and threatened to run rule SIU, the Saluki bullpen kept DBU scoreless for the final four innings of the game. Weld threw two scoreless innings, and Tyler Dray threw a scoreless sixth inning, pitching around a two-out triple. Kyle Pruemer then tossed the seventh and eighth without allowing a run. He surrendered a leadoff single in both innings he pitched but induced a pair of inning-ending double plays.
“You’re trying to keep the game going, keep giving your offense a chance,” Henderson. “Lee Weld did a very good job, and Pruemer did a good job, and Dray threw well, so I’m proud of those three guys for their effort and keeping the game going. We ended up getting two or more ABs out of it.”
With the loss, SIU finished the regular season in eighth place in the MVC. The Salukis will open the conference tournament on Tuesday, May 20 at 11:30 a.m. Central Time against conference champion Evansville. Sam Coonrod will take the hill for SIU at tournament host Indiana State’s Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute, Ind.