April 14, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill.- Southern Illinois scored eight unanswered runs to erase an early 4-0 deficit and ultimately claim an 8-5 victory in the final game of its Missouri Valley Conference series with Missouri State Sunday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. Missouri State, which out-hit the Salukis (17-18, 2-9 MVC) by a 10-9 margin, put its first six hitters of the game on base as part of a four-run first inning, only to watch SIU take control of the contest with four two-run rallies over a five-inning span en route to claiming just its second Valley win of the year.
SIU's Sam Coonrod (3-2) withstood the Bears' first-inning barrage to earn his third win of the season, holding MSU scoreless over his final five innings of work to give the Saluki offense time to click. The right-hander permitted just two hits - a second-inning double by Tate Matheny and a sixth-inning single by Dylan Becker - after the first, and allowed just six hits altogether while striking out three and walking three. The Salukis also got a boost from its bullpen, as Todd Eaton closed out the victory with two scoreless frames for his fifth save of the season.
Austin Montgomery and Ryan Casillas each scored a pair of runs and recorded two hits to lead the Saluki comeback. Additionally, Cody Daily drove in two runs, while Rennie Troggio finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI to power the SIU attack.
In spite of the final outcome, the afternoon got off to an ominous start for Coonrod and SIU. After committing five errors in the Bears' 14-6 victory Saturday, Southern Illinois set the tone for MSU's first-inning rally with another defensive miscue to start Sunday's contest. Matheny's bouncer to short was handled cleanly, but Ryan Rosthenhausler's throw to first was low, setting off a string of six consecutive batters reaching safely to begin the game. Travis McComack coaxed a walk from Coonrod, before Luke Voit delivered the first of four straight MSU base hits to load the bases. Next, Koby Peebles and Keenen Maddox registered run-scoring singles to right, and Conner Wilson added a base hit to center to plate MSU's third run. A Joey Hawkins grounder to second brought in Peebles to cap the scoring and give the Bears an early 4-0 lead.
It would take Southern Illinois less than four innings to eliminate the deficit, however. The Salukis chipped away at the lead with a pair of runs in the second, thanks to an RBI ground out by Daily and a two-out balk call against MSU starter Andy Cheray. SIU would pull even in the fourth after a walk and an error set up a two-run rally for the Salukis. Casillas came through with his second hit of the afternoon to drive in a run before Daily would plate another with a run-scoring single to right.
The Salukis would grab the upper hand for good with two more in the fifth, as an infield hit by Troggio to start the inning set the stage. Cheray nearly worked himself out of trouble, coaxing ground balls from Matt Jones and Montgomery, but a hit batsman and another error - this time on a failed pickoff attempt - led to the Salukis' go-ahead run. SIU wasn't quite satisfied with the one-run lead, as Luke Mottashed added a run-scoring single to put the home team in front by a 6-4 score.
Two more tallies in the sixth stretched the SIU advantage to four runs, as Troggio added a run-scoring single and Jones brought in another with a sacrifice fly to center off sophomore right-hander Zach Merciez.
MSU reliever Grant Gordon stopped the bleeding for the Bears with two scoreless innings over which he fanned two in facing the minimum six hitters. Cheray (0-2) suffered his second straight defeat for the Bears after allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits over 4 2/3 innings.
MSU (21-10, 6-3 MVC) threatened in the seventh against reliever Aaron Snyder when McComack singled and Voit doubled to start the inning. A sac fly from Peebles pulled the Bears to within three, and Maddox's second hit of the day - and his seventh of the series - brought the tying run to the plate. But Snyder struck out Wilson and got Becker on a bouncer to second that deflected off the pitcher's glove for an inning-ending fielder's choice force out at second.
Eaton took over from there, allowing just a two-out double by Eric Cheray in the eighth and a two-out walk to Maddox in the ninth in his two scoreless innings.
Maddox and Voit led the Bears with two-hit days, and Peebles drove in his 21st and 22nd runs of the year.
Up next, the Bears kick off a busy week at Hammons Field Tuesday (April 16) with a 6:30 p.m. contest against nationally-ranked Oklahoma State. Fans who follow @MSUBearBaseball will receive one ticket to Tuesday's game for half of the regular 2013 single-game price. This special offer is available now through the Missouri State Athletics Box Office via the Chevy Pickup Window at JQH Arena