Salukis stop skid, send SEMO reeling

By Gus Bode

Mark Kelly wasn’t going to watch his team lose a fifth straight game.

Kelly, a junior catcher, connected with the bases loaded to score a pair of runs in the fifth inning to get the SIU baseball team on the board as it defeated Southeast Missouri State 5-4 Tuesday at Abe Martin Field.

After Kelly cut the lead to 4-2, senior first baseman Adam Hills scored on a balk by Redhawk sophomore reliever Andy Stephens and sophomore designated hitter Tyler Bullock singled to left field to score Kelly and tie the game at 4-4.

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Kelly led the offense with three RBIs while going 2-for-4 at the plate.

He said he prides himself in getting the job done in scoring situations.

“In that situation all I did was a hit a fly ball and luckily something fell,” Kelly said. “It was a breakthrough and everyone took a deep breath and we had a lot of confidence after that.”

Kelly delivered another big hit with two outs in the next inning to give SIU (19-15) its first lead of the game. He drove in sophomore second baseman Michael Finigan and the Salukis never looked back.

Senior reliever Lance Rhodes picked up his third loss of the season after allowing one run over 1.2 innings.

Saluki freshman reliever Nick Rice cruised through his four innings of work en route to his second win of the season. Rice struck out two and induced a pair of double plays.

SIU coach Dan Callahan said he was pleased with Rice’s performance.

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“His breaking ball was working today and he threw some fastballs by some guys,” Callahan said. “He did a good job and that’s what we needed.”

The Redhawks jumped out to an early 4-0 lead thanks in part to four errors by the Saluki defense.

Saluki junior starting pitcher Andrew Dunn allowed four runs, one earned in five innings of work before Rice came in and held their offense in check.

SIU will return to action 7 p.m. Friday at Wichita State.

Matt Hartwig can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 282 or [email protected]

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