“Today’s win was rewarding,” said head coach Gene Stephenson. “We played well and got clutch hits when we needed them. Maybe things are turning our way. The pitching was good and we handled the long delay well.”
Rob Musgrave improved to 9-2 on the season, throwing five complete innings before the delay. The junior lefty gave up one earned run on four hits and three walks. Cody Adams (11-5) suffered the loss, allowing one earned run, two total, in six innings on six hits and one walk.
Conor Gillaspie put the Shockers on the board with a two-out solo homerun in the top of the fourth inning. The blast over the left-center wall was the sophomore’s sixth of the season.
The Shockers first threatened in the top of the second. With two outs, Josh Workman sent SIU’s second baseman, Scott Elmendorf, diving to his right side for an infield hit. Workman stole second, but a ground out to third base stranded the runner.
WSU had another chance in the fifth after a lead-off walk to Workman. Tyler Hill put one on the ground through the left side and Tyler Weber attempted to move the runners with a sacrifice bunt. However, the pitcher went to third with the ball to erase the lead runner, leaving men at first and second. The runners moved up on a wild pitch as Dusty Coleman went down on strikes. Andy Dirks roped one to right field, but Aaron Roberts snagged the line drive and held on for the out.
Musgrave faced only one over the minimum in both the first and second, but the Salukis managed to get a runner in scoring position in the third. Kevin Koski reached on a fielder’s choice bunt and Roberts drew a walk. Koski tagged and advanced on a fly ball to center field, but SIU came up short with a ground out ending the inning.
“Musgrave is throwing three pitches for a strike consistently,” said Stephenson. “He did an awfully good job today keeping hitters off balance. Plus his fastball is better than people give him credit for.”
Koski reached on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the fifth and a double by Roberts drove the run in to knot the game at one.
The Shockers responded immediately in the next frame to regain the lead, 2-1, before rain suspended the game for three plus hours. Derek Schermerhorn was plunked in the arm and Matt Brown hopped one to short stop Tyler Lairson who allowed the ball to get to the outfield, putting runners at second and first on the error. Gillaspie hit into a double play, but the distraction allowed Schermerhorn to score.
When the game resumed at approximately 3:45, Kyle Touchatt was on the mound for WSU and Jordan Powell took over on the bump for
Touchatt picked up where Musgrave left off, but the Salukis weren’t as lucky and it was a quick appearance for Powell. Hill took one back up the middle and Weber got one under the second baseman’s glove to reach on an error. Coleman hit a fielder’s choice that erased Weber, but it was enough to cross Hill. Singles from Dirks and Brown drove in another run, making it 4-1 through six-and-a-half innings. Ian Reinhart relieved Powell before SIU managed the third out.
Noah Krol came in after Elmendorf reached on an error and sat down five consecutive batters to seal the win and pick up his tenth save of the year.
“I usually come in when we have a one to two run lead and it’s my job to get people out,” said Krol. “That worked out well today.”
Dirks led the Shockers, going 3-for-5 and Hill followed with two hits and a run.
“We learn from our mistakes,” Stephenson said. “We played better today than we played yesterday. Hopefully we’ll play better tomorrow than we did today.”