May 24, 2011
By Jason Clay
OMAHA, Neb. - Missouri State used 14 hits to score six runs and hand the Southern Illinois baseball team a 6-4 loss in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Tuesday evening at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Salukis (22-33) will play the loser of the Creighton and Bradley game on Wednesday. That game was supposed to be played after Southern's, but rain has pushed it back to 9 a.m. Wednesday. SIU's game against the loser between the Jays and Braves is tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m.
SIU had 10 hits against Missouri State (32-21), but was missing the timely hit. Southern Illinois stranded eight on-base, including runners on second and third in the ninth that could have tied the game.
"We had a couple of opportunities early and then obviously again in the ninth we had a couple of chances to tie the game up, but didn't have good at-bats," interim head coach Ken Henderson said. "The top of our order didn't have a very good night and we just didn't get timely hits when we had to."
The first five batters in Southern's order went a combined 1-for-21, while the bottom four was 9-for-15.
Saluki starting pitcher Cody Forsythe was taken out of the game after being hit by a pitch in the forearm in the fourth inning. He allowed a pair of home runs, nine hits and four runs in his four innings before being injured. Forsythe drew the loss in the game to fall to 8-5 on the year.
Missouri State starter Nick Petree improved to 9-2 on the year by throwing seven innings and allowing three runs, only one of which was earned. Petree gave up seven hits and had five strikeouts.
Blake Pinnon got Southern started in the third with his double to lead off the inning. It was SIU's first hit of the game and after Brian Bajer moved him over to third on a single, Chris Murphy drove him home with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Salukis a 1-0 lead.
Bajer's second hit of the game in the fifth, an RBI single through the right side, brought home SIU's second run to cut the Missouri State lead down to 4-2.
Kevin Medrano answered with a sacrifice fly for Missouri State to up its lead back to two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Brock Chaffin then gave the Bears a 6-3 advantage with his RBI double in the seventh.
Southern went quiet until starting the ninth inning with three-straight singles to load the bases.
Murphy chopped a grounder to the pitcher who threw home for the out. MSU catcher Luke Voit threw down to first to try to get Murphy out on the double play, but his throw sailed on him and allowed one run to score.
After a strikeout, Austin Montgomery grounded out to end the game and leave the tying runs on-base.