Salukis Score Big in 11th to Even Series With Bears
March 29, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Southern Illinois scored five times in the top of the 11th inning to pull out a 9-5 victory over Missouri State Saturday at Hammons Field, evening the two clubs' Missouri Valley Conference series at one game apiece. Ryan Casillas accounted for six of SIU's nine tallies on the day, going 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored to lead the Salukis' 15-hit attack.
Parker Osbourne's one-out single against a drawn-in Missouri State infield plated Will Farmer to snap a 4-4 tie, before Casillas drove in his third baserunner of the day with a single to right-center. Tyler Rolland extended the visitor's lead to 8-4 with a two-run, bad-hop single, then came around himself on Matt Jones's second run-scoring double off the SIU bench.
The Bears mounted a rally of their own in the home half of the 11th, getting an RBI-single from Matt Dezort and loading the bases to bring the tying run to the plate with two out. But Tyler Dray got Tyler Harris to ground to third, ending MSU's hopes for a third-straight home victory.
SIU's first MVC victory of the season was also made possible by the relief work of Kyle Pauly (2-1), who held the Bears to one hit in three scoreless innings of relief late in the game.
In addition to Casillas's big day at the plate, Jones drove in two runs with a pair of doubles, including his two-bagger to right that put SIU in front in the eighth inning. Connor Kopach and Osborne also finished with two-hit games, while Cody Daily scored twice for the Salukis.
The Bears (11-14, 2-3 MVC) twice battled back from deficits, erasing a 2-0 lead with a three-run rally in the fourth, then pulling even in the bottom of the eighth on Tate Matheny's third home run of the season.
But for the second straight game in the series, defense would play a pivotal role in the outcome, as SIU forged ahead in the decisive frame with some help from the Bears' defense. Farmer's bouncer to short opened the door for the Salukis when Joey Hawkins's throw to first sailed into the visitor's dugout, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position with nobody out. A Kopach sacrifice moved the runner to third before Osborne's hot shot ricocheted off Eric Cheray at second for a run-scoring single. SIU (14-11, 1-1 MVC) built a 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of two-out tallies over the first three frames. Kopach's bunt single set the tone in the first, as the Salukis touched up Bears starter Matt Hall for a run on four hits--three of which came with two out, including Casillas's single through the left side of the infield that plated Daily with the game's first run.
The visitors--Casillas, more specifically--struck with two out once again in the third, as the Salukis senior first baseman connected with Hall's first offering for a solo shot to right field that handed SIU a two-run cushion.
MSU would respond in the home half of the fourth when Matheny's lead-off single to right initiated a string of three consecutive hits, all of which came home to roost to give the Bears a 3-2 lead. Matt Fultz followed Matheny's liner with a base hit, before the Bears caught a break when Osborne lost Eric Cheray's pop fly to center in the sun. SIU starter Todd Eaton beaned Conor Smith with the bases full to force in the Bears' first run, and back-to-back sac flies from Aaron Meyer and Hawkins put MSU on top, 3-2.
The Salukis answered in the fifth when Kopach singled, stole second and moved to third on an Osborne hit, before Daily's sacrifice fly to center evened the score at 3-3.
It would stay that way until the eighth, thanks to the pitching of Eaton. The senior right-hander finished with six strikeouts over his 7.0 innnings, allowing four runs on six hits--including just one from the fourth inning through the seventh.
SIU would call on Jones to pinch hit with two one and one out in the eighth, and the senior catcher would come through, lining a Zach Merciez offering into the corner in right to chase home Casillas.
Matheny wasted no time in getting even, as the sophomore blasted the second pitch of the bottom of the eighth over the wall in right to pull the Bears even and end Eaton's day. The Bears center fielder finished the day 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored, while Smith added two hits for MSU.
Anawalt (0-2) suffered his second extra-inning loss of the week after allowing all five SIU runs in the 11th on four hits and a walk.
Up next, the Bears and Salukis conclude the weekend with the rubber match of the series at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.