No. 6 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 6, No. 3 WICHITA STATE 3
SIU (29-27); WSU (35-24)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – In game three of the State Farm MVC Baseball Championship, No. 6 Southern Illinois took down No. 3 Wichita State, 6-3. The Salukis will face the winner of the Missouri State/Bradley contest, while the Shockers will take on the non-winner of the Bears/Braves game.
Southern Illinois withstood a late surge to defeat Wichita State 6-3 in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Tuesday evening at Hammons Field. SIU jumped on Wichita State for four runs in the first four innings and put the game away with back-to-back homers in the ninth.
Cody Forsythe pitched seven strong innings to earn the first MVC Tournament victory of his career. The Second Team All-MVC pitcher was perfect through five innings before surrendering three runs in the sixth inning.
Forsythe struck out eight and did not allow a walk. He credited his five called third strikes to the Shockers anticipating his curveball.
WSU broke up Forsythe’s perfect game in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Shockers found virtually every hole in the defense to score three runs off five singles in the inning. It started with back-to-back singles from Dayne Parker and Tyler Baker. Josh Halbert followed with a high chopping infield single to load the bases. With one out, Erik Harbutz blooped a single just out of the reach of Serritella at first base to score a pair of runs and cut SIU’s lead to 4-2.
Johnny Coy then grounded a single through the left side of the infield to score Halbert and make it a one-run game. Forysthe got out of the inning with a strikeout and a fly out to keep the lead in tact.
With SIU still in front 4-3, Wichita State missed a chance in the eighth inning. Kevin Hall led off with a single against Todd Eaton, who was in his first inning of relief. Then with one out and Johnny Coy at the plate, Hall had a good jump and a chance to steal second base. Instead, he stopped a third of the way down the baseline and was picked off by SIU catcher Brian Bajer. Eaton struck out Coy on the next pitch to end the inning.
That gave SIU the momentum back. Brian Bajer and Donny Duschinsky led off the top of the ninth with consecutive home runs to give Southern more breathing room with a 6-3 lead. Duschinsky was a triple away from the cycle in the game.
Eaton pitched around a pair of leadoff singles to toss a scoreless ninth and seal the win for the Salukis. It was Eaton’s ninth save of the year, tying him for fifth most in a season in school history.
Jake Welch led off the game with a single for SIU, which helped Southern struck for a pair of runs in the first. Chris Serritella and Austin Montgomery each delivered an RBI single to give the Dawgs a 2-0 lead.
Serritella extended SIU’s lead to 3-0 with a solo home run to right field. That tied him with teammate Jordan Sivertsen for the league lead with 12 homers.
Starter Josh Smith took the loss for Wichita State. He could only record nine outs in the game. He left with SIU in front 4-0 after allowing consecutive doubles to start the fourth inning. Smith was charged with five runs off seven hits in three-plus innings.
T.J. McGreevy relieved Smith and completely shut down the Saluki offense to keep Wichita State in the game. He entered in the fourth inning with no outs, a runner at second base and the Salukis on the brink of turning the game into a rout. McGreevy retired 15 of the 16 SIU hitters he faced.