Eighth-seeded Southern Illinois stayed alive with a 7-1 win over fifth-seeded Illinois State in the MVC Tournament on Thursday at Eck Stadium.
The Salukis (12-45) snapped a seven-game losing streak and eliminated the Redbirds (27-27), who lost 4-3 to Wichita State on Wednesday night after blowing a two-run lead in the eighth inning.
“We’re not ready for this to be over,” SIU right fielder Tyler Rolland said. “We keep playing hard, like we’re doing, and we’ll surprise some people.”
SIU batted around in the fifth inning and took advantage of starter Will Headean’s control problems while facing the bottom of the order. He gave up a leadoff single to Nick Hutchins and then walked the next three batters, pushing in a run to tie the game 1-all.
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Leadoff hitter Chase Slone smoked a single past Headen’s head to score two more runs. Coach Ken Henderson held Ryan Sabo at third, then waved him home when Redbirds center field Sean Beesley bobbled the ball.
Rolland dumped a double a few feet from the right-field foul line to drive in two more for a 5-1 lead.
SIU plays at 12:30 p.m. Friday against either top-seeded Missouri State or fourth-seeded Wichita State. The winner of that game must play again at 7:30 p.m. Friday.