A three-run home run from Bradley junior left fielder Andrew Wasmund in the fourth inning Sunday kept the Salukis from sweeping the Braves this weekend.
SIU (14-10, 2-1 Missouri Valley Conference) fell 8-4 to Bradley (11-9-1, 1-2 MVC) Sunday after winning the first two games of the series Friday and Saturday 6-5 and 7-2, respectively.
“We try to win every game. We had a chance to win the series, and it was right there for the taking,” coach Ken Henderson said. “They’re down, and then you give up seven runs in an inning and a third, then it’s 7-2 in the fourth inning and you have an uphill battle all day.”
The three runs that scored on Wasmund’s home run, his first RBI’s of the season, chased Saluki left-handed pitcher Nathan Dorris out of the game. Dorris (4-2) gave up six earned runs on seven hits over three and a third innings, taking the loss.
“I thought he was outstanding the first two innings, and then in the third, everything was right down the middle, belt-high,” Henderson said. “It was either a ball or belt-high down the middle, and those are both recipes for failure.”
Sunday was the second-straight loss for Dorris, after he started the season with four straight victories. He has given up 12 earned runs on 16 hits over seven and two-thirds innings in his last two starts.
Junior right fielder Nick Johnson launched his fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth inning, a two-run blast that made the score 7-4. He hit a home run in Saturday’s victory after sitting out the first game of the series Friday.
“I’ve been trying to be a little more aggressive at the plate, swinging at stuff in the zone and not letting strikes go by,” Johnson said. “Today, I got myself out a few times doing that, but I think overall I’m pretty happy with this weekend.”
The home run chased Bradley junior right-handed pitcher John Nasshan from the game. Junior right-handed pitcher Patrick Flanagan (1-0) picked up the win in relief of Nasshan. He pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit while striking out three.
With the score still 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth, junior first baseman Chris Serritella came up to bat with the bases loaded and one out. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Serritella hit a grounder that resulted in a 6-4-3 double play that ended the inning.
“That’s the bottom line of the game; we just didn’t get any crucial hits today,” Henderson said. “I don’t fault our effort, either, I thought our kids played hard. I thought they were in it all day, but some days it just doesn’t go your way.”
Serritella was ejected from the game after the at-bat for questioning the strike zone, Henderson said. He said he doesn’t expect the incident to result in a suspension for Serritella.
The three, four and five hitters for SIU went a collective 1-for-14, with the only hit coming off a double by Serritella, the three-hitter, in the first inning. Junior designated hitter Austin Montgomery, the cleanup hitter, went 0-for-5 Sunday, ending a 15-game hit streak.
Senior left fielder Jordan Sivertsen went 0-for-5 in the five spot Sunday after hitting his first two home runs of the season Friday and Saturday.
“We got a bunch of guys on, we did a good job doing that. But we just didn’t hit with runners in scoring position. That’s not going to win you games,” Sivertsen said. “Me, Chris and (Montgomery), that’s supposed to be our job in the middle of the order to hit people in.”
The Salukis left 12 runners on base Sunday, compared to eight for Bradley.
In Friday’s victory, Saluki junior left-handed pitcher Cody Forsythe (1-1) picked up the win, striking out a career-high 11 in eight innings of work.
Senior right-handed pitcher Cameron Maldonado (2-0) recorded the win Saturday. He pitched seven innings, giving up one earned run on eight hits while striking out seven.
SIU plays against Murray State at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Abe Martin Field before going on the road to face Wichita State in a three-game series starting Friday.