Baseball: Salukis swept by Shockers

By Gus Bode

A few bad innings made for a miserable weekend for the SIU baseball team.

The Salukis (23-12, 4-5) lost the finale of a three-game set to No. 11 Wichita State Sunday 19-9 in seven innings. The Shockers scored 11 runs in the top of the sixth inning.

SIU coach Dan Callahan said there isn’t much to take away from the series.


“We were in all three games until the end and I hope what we didn’t prove is that we’re not a mentally tough team,” Callahan said. “As I sat back and watched game three, I started to question that a little bit, but the last thing I need to do is to turn on these guys because that’s counterproductive.”

Wichita State (30-8, 10-2) went into the sixth inning trailing the Salukis 6-3. But after a Tyler Weber solo home run cut the lead to one, everything went downhill for SIU. On the following play Andy Dirks singled to shallow right and sent Saluki starter Shawn Joy off.

Joy allowed five runs in five innings of work.

The Shockers jumped all over the Saluki bullpen, torching senior pitcher Kyle Catto for three runs in a third of an inning before freshman pitcher Tyler Choate came into the game.

Choate allowed two runs without recording an out before fellow freshman Bryant George came in with the bases loaded. George walked the first batter he faced on four straight pitches and gave up four runs on four hits in one-third of an inning.

Junior Brad Lawrence came in for George and stopped the bleeding but the Shockers went back at it again in the seventh.

Sophomore catcher Mark Kelly dealt with the wildness of his pitching staff throughout the game. The SIU pitching staff threw a wild pitch, hit two batters and had Kelly diving left and right to get balls out of the dirt.


“I wasn’t mentally exhausted. I’m all right, it was just a lack of focus, but there’s not excuse for it,” Kelly said. “That kind of stuff happens but you got to battle around it.”

Sophomore Michael Kane pitched two-thirds of an inning and allowed five runs on four hits, including a two-run homer to Damon Sublett. Freshman Tom Danahy nabbed the final out of the inning after allowing a double.

Junior first baseman Adam Hills, who’s hitting streak ended at 12 games, said a few innings got away from the Salukis.

“I don’t really know what happened out there, we just kind of self-destructed,” Hills said. “They’re a solid team and their record shows that and they’ve earned that ranking so far this year.”

With the home run fresh in his mind, Sublett came in to pitch the seventh inning for the Shockers. He walked senior center fielder Kevin Koski to start the inning, and then loaded the bases after an error and a walk to junior catcher Chris Engele.

Sublett hit sophomore third baseman Scott Elmendorf and junior designated hitter Chris Crank to score Koski and freshman Aaron Roberts, respectively.

Crank finished 1-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs.

Noah Krol came in to pitch for Wichita State. Krol hit the second baseman Tyler Lairson, which scored Engele to cut the lead to 10.

The Salukis were run-ruled for the third time this season. The other run-rule losses were to Evansville March 30 and 31. SIU lost 10-0 and 14-2 in seven innings, respectively.

In the first half of the double header, SIU lost 8-4 despite a strong effort from sophomore starting pitcher Cody Adams. He shut out the Shockers until the sixth inning and picked up his second loss of the season.

The Salukis also dropped Saturday’s series opener 10-7 after senior starting pitcher Jordan Powell was shelled for seven runs in 3.1 innings. Senior pitcher Dusty Baker also made his 2007 debut after returning from shoulder surgery, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings.