Baseball: Bradley steals series finale

By Gus Bode

Only a 14-4 loss like Sunday’s could end with the Salukis thinking it could have been worse.

SIU dropped two of three games at Bradley over the weekend, ending the series Sunday in the eighth inning because of the 10-run rule. The Braves (20-16, 4-8) scored four runs in both the seventh and eighth inning and had the bases loaded with nobody out when the game was called.

“It was the nail in the coffin. The seventh and eighth inning, both of them were disastrous,” SIU coach Dan Callahan said. “We couldn’t stop the bleeding. It didn’t matter who we marched out there, they were all equally ineffective.”

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The Saluki bullpen gave up no runs and three hits in 3.1 total innings Friday and Saturday, but five relievers combined for eight runs off seven hits and five walks in 2.1 innings in Sunday’s loss. Freshman Bryant George, sophomore Daniel Wells and senior Dusty Baker failed to record an out in relief.

The Salukis (24-15, 6-6) kicked the series off on the wrong foot, falling 6-1 to Bradley Friday.

Michael Christl, the Braves’ starter, tossed a complete game, allowing one run off seven hits and striking out seven for his second win of the season. Christl entered the game with a 1-5 record and an 8.14 ERA.

“He picked that game to have his best performance,” Callahan said. “He was dropping his slider in there like it was easy and made his fastball look that much more effective.”

SIU junior first baseman Adam Hills was 0-for-4 against Christl, but he tallied two RBIs in the Salukis’ 2-1 win Saturday, and another two RBIs Sunday.

“It’s always good to help your team out,” Hills said. “I’m glad I could get some clutch hits, especially Saturday. I’m glad I could come up with that hit for us.”

SIU sent Cody Adams to the hill for Saturday’s tilt, and Adams helped end the Salukis’ five game losing streak. He struck out four batters while allowing four hits and three walks over seven innings, allowing one run to improve his record to 9-2 on the season.

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Reinhart took over for Adams in the eighth inning, allowing no runs, one hit and striking out one batter. George came on in the ninth to record his sixth save of the season, throwing a perfect inning on nine pitches.

Adams said a contributing factor to his quality start was the friends and family he had in attendance at Bradley, which is about a 90-min drive from Adams’ hometown of Viola.

“I was really excited to make the start. My arm felt really good, my velocity was really high,” Adams said. “I mostly stuck with my fastball and if they hit it, they hit it and my defense was right behind me.”

The Salukis return to action Wednesday to face Saint Louis in Sauget, Ill., and SIU has lost six of its last seven games. After playing Saint Louis, the Salukis will host Missouri State for a three-game set at Abe Martin Field, beginning Friday.

“We just need to toughen up this week and work hard and come into this weekend ready to go,” Adams said.

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