The Salukis cruised through seven innings Tuesday, but two errors in the top of the eighth made the game interesting towards the end.
“Everybody’s focusing on the last two innings, and I thought it was a good day for us,” said coach Ken Henderson. “It’s a win, and the guys that played everyday played pretty well.”
After the Salukis (23-18, 8-4 Missouri Valley Conference) took a 9-0 lead into the top of the eighth, Henderson made several defensive changes because he said he wanted to give the younger guys some playing time. Freshman shortstop J.C. Davis was one of those younger guys, and his two errors helped Southeast Missouri (14-28, 5-10 Ohio Valley Conference) plate five runs in the eighth.
The Salukis went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth, and SEMO loaded the bases against Saluki sophomore right-hander Todd Eaton with two outs in the top of the ninth. Eaton struck out SEMO sophomore right-fielder John Logan Zink to nail down the 9-5 victory for SIU.
Junior left-hander Nathan Dorris (6-3, 4.53 ERA) struck out nine in seven scoreless innings and recorded the victory. Dorris has three quality starts in the three mid-week games since he was bumped from the weekend rotation April 10.
“I just tried to get ahead of hitters early and finish them off with my breaking ball,” Dorris said. “Also, I was able to mix (the breaking ball) early in the count to keep hitters off balance, and that was really the gameplan going in.”
Saluki junior first baseman Chris Serritella went 3-4 with three doubles and three runs. Serritella scored a run in each of the Salukis’ three-run rallies in the first, third and sixth innings.
“We came out with a lot of intensity, and we got those three runs out there early, so it was a good win for us,” Serritella said. “I just got some good pitches to hit, and I was just trying to stay calm. Wasn’t trying to do to much, just trying to play the middle of the field with a slow lefty (on the mound), so you can’t try to do too much against them.”
SEMO freshman left-hander Will Spitzfaden (1-1, 8.35 ERA) took the loss after he gave up six runs in two and a third innings.
The win for SIU is its fifth in a row, and the Salukis carry that win streak into their weekend match-up against conference-leading Missouri State (29-12, 8-3 MVC).