CEDAR CITY, Utah, 4/21/12- Southern Utah starter Kelsey Outram cruised through the first eight innings of Saturday’s game with IPFW to help his team take an 8-2 win as well as claim the series three games to one. The Thunderbirds now lead the Summit League in the win column with a record of 7-4 in conference play to go along with an overall mark of 13-25.
“Kelsey came out firing,” commented SUU interim head coach Clayton Carson. “He has had some trouble early in games this year but today he was strong from the first to the end.”
The junior right-hander went for eight innings in his eleventh start of the season, giving up just two runs and six hits. Outram also struck out nine batters while surrendering just two walks.
Southern Utah took an early 1-0 advantage in the game when Justin Neuhart hit a sacrifice fly to score DJ Andrade from third in the first innings. The Thunderbirds held onto the lead until the Mastodons got an RBI double from Steve Danielak in the top of the fourth inning to even the score at one run apiece. SUU then retook control in the bottom of the frame after back-to-back RBI singles from Mitchell Kauweloa and Tariq Staton made the count 3-1 for SUU.
IPFW was able to narrow the margin with another score in the following inning, but the T-Birds answered with three more runs in the sixth to go up 6-2. Neuhart started the scoring with his second RBI of the day, this time driving a double down the left field line, and Staton drove in two more runs with an RBI single through the left side to put Southern Utah up by four.
SUU added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth as Staton drove in David Headley from second with a single to left for his fourth RBI of the afternoon and then came around to score on a base hit from Brad Royer to set the final tally at 8-2.
Staton had a big day at the plate for Southern Utah collecting four RBI on three hits and scoring a run. Third baseman Justin Neuhart also drove in a pair of runs for the T-Birds, bringing his total RBI to seven in the series.
“This puts us in a good position in the conference going forward,” said Carson. “We are looking to continue to get series wins so that we can eventually reach the conference tournament.”
The Thunderbirds will travel north next week to take on the University of Utah in Salt Lake on Tuesday at 6 p.m. and will then have the weekend off as they take a break from conference play.