May 24, 2007
By Jeff Honza
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A two-run seventh inning following a three-hour and thirteen-minute rain delay was the difference in Wichita State University's 4-2 win over Southern Illinois earlier today at the Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship.
WSU (47-18) eliminated SIU (34-22), which went two-and-out at the league tournament for the second consecutive year.
"I'm disappointed for our entire team," said Saluki head coach Dan Callahan. "We didn't have a great year, but we had a decent year."
SIU trailed, 2-1, as starting pitchers Cody Adams and Rob Musgrave were cruising along in an excellent duel on the mound.
Adams tossed three consecutive scoreless innings before Danny Jackson's two-out solo home run put the Shockers on the board in the fourth.
Derek Schermerhorn was hit by a pitch, went to third with the help of an error and scored when Conor Gillaspie hit into a double play to regain the lead for WSU in the sixth.
Then came the rain.
Rain steadily soaked Hammons Field for what seemed like an eternity and ended all chances of Adams and Musgrave returning to the mound.
Once play resumed, WSU reliever Kyle Touchatt recorded a pair of groundball outs and a strikeout to get out of the sixth.
Jordan Powell, who hadn't pitched in consecutive days all year, headed to the mound for SIU.
Powell, the Salukis' game three starter who worked two innings in relief against Creighton Wednesday, gave up a single to Tyler Hill on his first pitch in the seventh.
An error by Scott Elmendorf followed and the Shockers were in business with runners on the corners and no outs.
Powell, who gave up two runs on three hits exited the game after throwing just 13 pitches.
SIU kept fighting and had its best chance to catch the Shockers during its at-bat in the seventh.
Freshman Michael Finigan ripped a one-out double to right and scored courtesy of Koski's triple that rifled off first base. Touchatt, however, beared down to strike out Roberts and throw out Adam Hills on a comebacker to the mound.
SIU threatened one more time with a runner on second and one out in the eighth, but couldn't capitalize against WSU closer Noah Krol.
Krol, who picked up his 10th save, retired five in a row to finish off the Dawgs.
"Wichita's relievers are just as good as their starters. That's what separates them from the other teams in our league," said Callahan.
Musgrave (9-2) allowed four hits, struck out two and gave up one run in five innings.
Adams (11-5) scattered six hits and gave up two runs, while striking out four in six frames.
Offensively, SIU had seven hits spread over six Salukis.
Lou Johanns paved the way with a career-high two hits, while Koski, Roberts, Chris Crank, Tyler Lairson and Finigan followed with one apiece. Roberts also made a spectacular catch in right center to save a couple runs in the fifth.
Meanwhile, Koski ended a remarkable Saluki career when he fell one hit shy of tying SIU's all-time hits record in his final at-bat in the ninth.
"Just knowing this was my last game was tough to take," said Koski. "We played hard and never gave up."
Defensively, SIU committed four errors.
The Salukis, who went two-and-out at the MVC Tournament in back-to-back years for the first time in school history, have lost their last six postseason games.