May 19, 2007
By Jeff Honza
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Southern Illinois University clinched its first series win on the road in the final game of the regular season when it held on to beat Indiana State, 9-8, earlier today at Sycamore Field.
SIU finishes the 2007 regular season at 34-20 overall and 13-11 in the Missouri Valley Conference. INS drops to 26-26 and 7-17 in league play. The Salukis' 34 wins are the second most in a season under 13th-year head coach Dan Callahan.
"Anytime you win a series on the road in this league is quite gratifying," said Callahan. "It appeared we lost the momentum today, but in the end we persevered."
Although SIU, Bradley and Evansville all tied for third in the standings, the Salukis are headed to next week's MVC Baseball Championship as a five-seed by virtue of head-to-head competition.
The Dawgs face second-seeded Creighton at 11 a.m., CST, in the first round of the tournament Wednesday. This year's MVC Baseball Championship will run from May 23-26 at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo.
The pairings for the first round of the 2007 MVC Baseball Championship are now set:
Game 1 - No. 1 Wichita State (46-17, 20-4) vs. No. 6 Missouri State (22-32, 7-17), 7 p.m.
Game 2 - No. 2 Creighton (40-13, 19-5) vs. No. 5 SIU (34-20, 13-11), 11 a.m.
Game 3 - No. 3 Bradley (30-19, 13-11) vs. No. 4 Evansville (34-21, 13-11), 3 p.m.
All times are central
WSU is this year's outright regular-season champion
It was a maddening weekend of chaos, so it was only fitting that the series finale between SIU and INS would end with a bang.
SIU came out like gangbusters, scoring nine runs in the first five innings.The Salukis' leadoff man reached base and scored in each of those innings and SIU appeared to be well in control.
After sitting down INS in order in the first, Saluki starting right-hander Jordan Powell gave up a leadoff solo home run to Nick Ciolli in the second and a three-run bomb to Chris Schmidt with two outs in the third.
Daniel Wells took over for Powell to get the Dawgs out of the sixth, but served up a solo home run to nine-hole hitter Chris Osborne with one away in the seventh.
Ian Reinhart then took the mound for his team and league high 34th appearance and allowed a leadoff home run to Schmidt in the eighth. Schmidt's second homer of the game quickly chopped SIU's lead to 9-8.
SIU put the ball in the hands of true freshman closer Bryant George in the ninth.
George gave up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Casey Martin, who advanced to second on an ensuing sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Andrew Strange.
George, however, kept his poise and got the next two Sycamore hitters to ground out to second and pick up his 11th save of the season.
INS nearly overcame a five-run deficit (9-4), but was forced to leave the tying run at third thanks to George.
Powell (6-7) managed to hang on for his first victory in seven league starts. He struck out two and gave up seven hits and six earned runs in 5.2 innings.
Powell had four losses and two no-decisions in his previous six conference starts prior to today.
Matt Shelton (5-2) took the fall for INS. He scattered five hits, struck out seven, walked four and allowed six runs in three innings.
SIU registered 12 hits, with Scott Elmendorf paving the way with three. Elmendorf went 3-for-4 with a double, run scored and two RBI.
Kevin Koski, Roberts and Chris Crank followed with two hits. Koski also scored three times to bring his career run total to 188. He is two runs away from breaking the school's all-time career record, currently held by Joe Schley (189 runs, 1996-99).
Series Notes: Junior submarine reliever Ian Reinhart broke SIU's all-time single-season record in appearances when he took the mound for the 33rd time Thursday...Cody Adams (11-4) became the first Saluki pitcher in 32 years to win 11 games in a season when he beat the Sycamores Friday...Adams moved into a three-way tie for fifth with Ron Hodges (1975) and John Hotz (1964)...SIU's 12-3 (+9) win in game two was the Dawgs' largest margin of victory in MVC play this season...The Salukis scored six runs in the eighth inning of that game, marking the most runs in one inning against a Valley opponent through 24 conference matchups...SIU's leadoff man reached base in an inning 18 times in the series and 10 of those runners scored...INS pitchers issued a total of 25 walks in three games, the most allowed by an opponent in a series this year...SIU scored a conference series-high 26 runs with 11 off those coming in the eighth and ninth innings...Scott Elmendorf, Chris Crank and Tyler Choate hit a combined .421 (16-for-38) with 10 runs, six doubles, 11 RBI and seven walks...Bryant George earned his 11th save Saturday, tying Andrew Weber (11 saves in 2004) for second in single-season saves at SIU...SIU (36) and INS (18) left a combined 54 runners on base...The Salukis' 36 marked a MVC series-high.