Baseball topples Illini with late-inning rally

By Joe Ragusa

The Salukis scored five runs in the final two innings to topple the Fighting Illini in a mid-week contest Tuesday.

SIU (25-20) went into the top of the eighth inning against Illinois (25-19) trailing 3-2, but after a double by senior catcher Brian Bajer, freshman right-fielder John Menken doubled and drove in the tying run.

Sophomore second baseman Jake Welch avoided an inning-ending double play and drove in Menken from second base to give SIU the 4-3 lead.


Back-to-back homers from sophomore shortstop Donny Duschinsky and junior third baseman Austin Montgomery to lead off the top of the ninth helped the Salukis distance themselves from the Illini for a 7-3 victory

Junior left-hander Nathan Dorris (6-3) started the game on the mound for the Salukis, and he last five and a third innings. He gave up three earned runs on four hits and struck out 11, but left the game on the hook for the loss. Sophomore right-hander Matt Murphy (2-3) recorded the victory after he pitched two and two thirds of scoreless relief.

SIU lost its two previous meetings with Illinois March 16 and 18. The Salukis return to conference play Friday when they kick-off a three game series against Illinois State in Normal, Ill.