Baseball cruises to easy victory

By Gus Bode

This time there was wasn’t a need for any late game heroics.

The SIU baseball team took a commanding 8-1 lead after the third inning and never looked back as it defeated Murray State 17-4 Monday at Abe Martin Field to grab its fifth straight win.

The blowout was a welcomed break from the weekend’s come-from-behind wins as the offense controlled the pace with 22 hits.

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Saluki coach Dan Callahan said the game was a major confidence builder.

“It’s just nice to beat the heck out of someone,” Callahan said. “We’ve had some opportunities to blow some teams out and we hadn’t been taking advantage of scoring opportunities.”

Sophomore Tyler Bullock filled in for junior Mark Kelly at catcher and put SIU (18-11) on the board early with a bases-loaded single off Thoroughbreds’ starting pitcher Jake Donze.

The two-RBI single scored freshmen center fielder Chris Murphy and junior second baseman Scott Elmendorf. Donze picked up his fourth loss of the season for Murray State (7-14).

Kelly, the designated hitter, did his damage in the third with a bases-loaded single up the middle off reliever Drew Leeper. Murphy and Elmendorf both scored on the play.

Kelly went 4-for-6 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

Freshman Nick Rice tossed five innings and allowed three runs en route to his first win of the season.

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Rice struck out three and walked three while pitching out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings. Rice’s defense backed him up well as it did not commit a single error.

Murray State’s defense didn’t help out its pitching staff at all, committing three innings and keeping the inning alive for SIU in the bottom of the fifth.

An error by right fielder Wes Cunningham allowed the Salukis to add four runs in the inning. Senior outfielder Dean Cademartori reaped the benefits with his first home run of the season.

Cademartori’s three-run shot capped his best hitting day of the season as he finished 4-for-5 with five RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

Cademartori said he has never had a stretch of games like this in his four-year career.

“I’ve been working on my swing a lot lately,” he said. “I just feel comfortable up there and there’s no reason not to feel confident.”

Senior utility man Adam Hills left the game after reaching on a single in the second inning. Hills fouled a pitch off his foot during the prior pitch sequence.

Callahan said Hills would be taken for an X-ray today.

“Hopefully it’s just a deep bone bruise and not something that’s broken,” he said.

SIU will play its fifth game in as many days when it takes on Southeast Missouri State at 3 p.m. today at Cape Girardeau, Mo.

The Salukis are looking to garner their sixth win in a row and will send junior starting pitcher Andrew Dunn (2-3, 4.0 ERA) to the mound.

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

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