May 23, 2018
Max Wright (Toronto, Ont.) goes deep for second homer tying the game in the eighth
Sycamores Advance as Jake Means Walks Off Salukis with a Two Run Blast
By Timothy McCaughan
Indiana State Athletics
DALLAS -- Tuesday afternoon Jake Means was named First Team All-MVC and Wednesday he showed why as the junior walked off Southern Illinois, 9-7, in the ninth with a two-run home run to push the Sycamores a day further in the winner’s bracket of the Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship. It marked the first walk off home run for the Sycamores since the 2010 season when Indiana State knocked off Creighton.
The Sycamores (30-22) will face either top-seed Missouri State or No. 8 Evansville Thursday at 5 p.m. ET at Horner Ballpark.
After the Salukis (27-29) opened the game with two runs in the first, Clay Dungan cut their lead in half with a first-pitch solo shot in the home half of the first, marking just second home run of the season for the junior. The two teams would again trade runs in the third when Dane Giesler homered to right field to move into sole possession of fourth place in program history with his 33rd career home run.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning that the Sycamores would tie the game when Means singled in Jarrod Watkins from second on ball up the middle. Roberto Enriquez would put the Sycamores ahead for the first time in the sixth with a two-run double to the gap in left-center to make it 5-3.
After a gutty performance from Sycamore starting pitcher Triston Polley, who went six complete innings and allowed three runs in a no decision, the Sycamores would make the call to the bullpen in right-hander Ethan Larrison.
The Salukis drew a pair of walks to open the seventh before Connor Kopach lifted a three-run home run over the wall in left field to put SIU back in front 6-5.
Sophomore Max Wright smashed a two-out no-doubt home run off the scoreboard in right field to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning.
After SIU put a man on with two outs in the ninth, Indiana State brought in left-hander Tyler Grauer to get the final out.
The Salukis countered with the MVC leader in saves in right-hander Ryan Netemeyer in the ninth inning. After striking out the first Sycamore he faced, Romero Harris lined a double into center to give the Sycamores a chance with a runner in scoring position. The base knock also extended Harris’ hitting streak to 16 games and his reached base streak to 28 games. Jordan Schaffer would pinch run but he wouldn’t need to do anything special as Means sent a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left.
Means led the team with a three-hit day to go along with three RBI and a pair of runs scored. Dungan, Giesler, Watkins, Enriquez and Wright each tallied two hits. Enriquez and Wright also drove in two runs for the Trees.
Grauer moved to 3-1 on the season after recording the final Saluki out of the ninth via a strikeout.