May 20, 2010
By Jason Clay
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Southern Illinois baseball team got 17 hits and senior pitcher Nathan Forer only gave up one run in seven innings to lead the Salukis past Missouri State, 13-2, on Thursday at Hammons Field.
This was SIU's biggest Missouri Valley Conference victory since the Dawgs beat Northern Iowa 14-2 in 2006 and it was head coach Dan Callahan's biggest win over Missouri State in his career.
The Salukis have now won four-straight to improve to 27-26 overall and an even 9-9 in MVC play while the Bears fall to 19-31 overall and 5-14 with the loss.
Six different Salukis had two or more hits Thursday. Senior shortstop Michael Stalter went 4-for-5 with a solo home run and fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. It was the second four-hit game in his career against Missouri State and his third four-hit game this season.
"I thought [Forer] did a good job and the fact that he got into the seventh inning was huge," Callahan said. "I was concerned about Nathan early on because he was beyond 50 pitches after the second inning. Michael [Stalter] has worked hard at his hitting and has put in some overtime. I'm happy for him and he's raised his average probably 50 points in the last three or four weeks."
Chris Serritella, Tyler Bullock and Brian Bajer all drove in two runs in the game and Chris Murphy led the team with three RBIs. Serritella has now driven in nine runs in his last three games and Bajer has six in his last four.
Forer picked up his third win on the year (3-3) and his ERA drops back down below three at 2.93. He allowed seven hits in seven innings and struck out one with two walks. He did not give up a hit to MSU's Kevin Medrano, who is the league's second-leading batter with a .408 batting average, and Medrano finished the game going 0-for-4.
Missouri State starter Mike Kickham drew the loss to fall to 4-8. He gave up nine hits, six runs and had four strikeouts.
Southern Illinois opened the game by scoring a run in each of the first two innings. Serritella had an RBI-single in the first and Stalter hit a solo home run to lead off the second inning. That was the second homer for Stalter in as many games, marking the first time in his career that he belted homers in back-to-back games.
A leadoff double followed by a single led to Missouri State scoring its first run in the bottom of the third. Travis McComack, who had the double to left-center, scored when Medrano grounded into his second double play in as many at-bats.
SIU tacked on three more runs in the fourth off of three hits. Bajer's third double of the season plated a pair and Murphy drove him home from second on a single to left field.
The Saluki lead went up to 6-1 in the fifth. Stalter hit a one-out double and he scored two batters later when Roberts safely bunted between the mound and first base.
After Forer had allowed seven base runners to get on in the first three innings, he retired all nine batters he faced from the fourth through the sixth and only used five pitches in that sixth inning where he got three fly-outs.
Southern tacked on four runs in the top of the eighth and two in the ninth while the Bears scored one in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly to finish the scoring.