Senior Jordan Sivertsen homered in his last game at Abe Martin Field.
May 19, 2012
By Scott Gierman
CARBONDALE, Ill. – SIU completed a winning regular season with a 10-4 victory over IPFW Saturday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. With the win on Senior Day, the Salukis (28-27) completed a three-game sweep of the Mastodons (16-40). It was Southern’s third three-game sweep of an opponent in 2012.
Southern finished the regular season above .500 for the second time in the last three years and the sixth time in the last eight years.
SIU led the entire way and fought off a late surge by plating four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the game away.
After the first two Saluki hitters went quietly in the bottom of the eighth, Dustin Huff and Rennie Troggio singled. Jake Welch then ripped a double to right field to score two runs and put SIU’s lead up to 8-4. Welch finished the day a home run shy of the cycle. He scored three runs and drove in three more.
“Jake Welch was outstanding today,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “He may have had his best game of the year in terms of defense, energy and how hard he played. We want him to play like that every day. He was a scrappy, hard-nosed player today.”
Donny Duschinsky followed Welch’s eighth inning double with a home run over the left field wall to extend the lead to 10-4. Duschinsky broke out for two hits in the game.
IPFW had fought its way back into the game with a three-run sixth and threatened again in the eighth. Malcolm White led off the eighth inning for IPFW with a double and scored when Carter DeBoe followed with a triple. That cut SIU’s lead to 6-4 and brought the tying run to the plate with no outs.
“That was Todd’s run at third base, and with nobody out,” Henderson said of the eighth inning jam. “For him to get the next three guys and not allow him to score was a big momentum turn back in our favor, and then the offense came back and put it away in the bottom of the eighth.”
Starter Sam Coonrod tossed five scoreless innings for the Salukis and earned his third win of the season. The only two baserunners against him were a pair of singles. He struck out four. SIU held a 6-0 lead when Coonrod was replaced by Aaron Snyder to start the sixth.
“(Coonrod) was very good,” Henderson said. “He was loose and confident. He pounded the zone, and his slider was pretty good today. He had a little better command of it than he normally does. He’s going to be a good one. He gets better every time out.”
Senior Jordan Sivertsen had a memorable final game at Abe Martin Field. His three-run homer capped a five-run, third inning rally to give SIU a 5-0 lead. It was a monster blast that landed well beyond the left field wall.
“It was a 3-1 count and I got a fastball up,” Sivertsen said. “It was a pretty good pitch to hit.”
It also gave Sivertsen the regular season home run title in the Missouri Valley Conference as his 12th long ball of the season put him one ahead of teammate Chris Serritella.
“We joke around about that a little bit, but I guess just got a little cheap one today,” Sivertsen said with a smile.
Welch started the third inning rally with his fifth triple of the season. He then scored on a wild pitch to give SIU a 2-0 lead. Duschinsky then singled, and Serritella walked to set up Sivertsen’s home run.
Serritella set a new school record with his 24th double of the season. It came in the bottom of the fifth inning. He drove in Jake Welch with the record-breaking hit to give SIU a 6-0 lead. Serritella also clinched the regular season conference batting title, finishing the regular season with a .394 average. In addition, extended his hitting streak to 21 games, the longest by a Saluki hitter since 2007.
“There are a lot of great players in this league, and it’s definitely an honor to be among the top,” Serritella said of his outstanding season. “One of the things I tried to work on with Coach (Ryan) Strain was getting a consistent swing, and I think I was able to take advantage of mistakes in the zone and put the ball in play and get some base hits.”
The Mastodons scored their first runs of the series in the series in the top of the sixth inning. Carter DeBoe lined a two-run double off the right field wall to cut the Salukis lead to 6-2. DeBoe then stole third base and scored when the throw went into left field. That made it a ballgame, cutting the lead to 6-3.
The sixth inning runs snapped SIU’s scoreless streak, which had lasted 26 and a third innings and stretched over parts of four games.
Henderson was pleased with the play of his team in the three-game sweep and said he hopes to see that momentum continues in the MVC Tournament.
“We did what we needed to do,” Henderson said. “We played better. We played good defense, pitched pretty well, and we got a win. Hopefully we’re on a roll here with some confidence headed to the tournament.”
The Salukis will open the tournament on Tuesday with a 4 p.m. game against Wichita State at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo. Cody Forsythe is expected to make the start on the mound for the Salukis. With a first round win, SIU would play the winner of Bradley and Missouri State in the second round of the double elimination tournament.