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SIU bounces back from weekend series at Memphis to take win at Arkansas State

Freshman+pitcher+Alex+Gutermuth+throws+the+ball+Sunday%2C+March+5%2C+2017%2C+at+Itchy+Jones+Stadium.+SIU+defeated+Western+Illinois+3-2.+%28Branda+Mitchell+%7C+%40branda_mitchell%29
Freshman pitcher Alex Gutermuth throws the ball Sunday, March 5, 2017, at Itchy Jones Stadium. SIU defeated Western Illinois 3-2. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

Freshman pitcher Alex Gutermuth throws the ball Sunday, March 5, 2017, at Itchy Jones Stadium. SIU defeated Western Illinois 3-2. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

Freshman pitcher Alex Gutermuth throws the ball Sunday, March 5, 2017, at Itchy Jones Stadium. SIU defeated Western Illinois 3-2. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

By Denton "Gio" Giovenco

The Salukis completed a rescheduled matchup against Arkansas State on Wednesday coming away with a hard-fought 4-2 win.

After a rough weekend series against Memphis that saw SIU battle to secure one win in three games — all of which were decided by one run — the Salukis desperately needed to pull out a win to supply momentum in the right direction heading into a four-game weekend set at the University of Illinois.

Coming off a strong five-inning outing against Murray State last Wednesday, senior pitcher Austin McPheron received the start against Arkansas State.

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With four games in three days on the schedule for the Salukis beginning Friday, coach Ken Henderson decided to utilize six different pitchers to complete the game, with no pitcher throwing over three innings. This was likely a move to ensure there are rested arms to man the mound over the coming weekend.

This translated into an abbreviated start for McPheron, who tossed 2.0 innings allowing one earned run on one hit while walking one and striking out two.

Junior Jamison Steege, senior Anthony Shimkus, freshman Brad Harrison, freshman Alex Gutermuth and junior Ryan Netemeyer combined out of the bullpen to finish the final seven innings of the game.

The Saluki bullpen only allowed one earned run on three hits for the night, yet showed control issues once again by issuing seven walks and claiming one hit batsman.

But a two-run lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning — secured by an RBI single off the bat of senior center fielder Dyllin Mucha in the top of the sixth inning — was all the cushion Netemeyer needed to secure his fifth save of the season.

Senior designated hitter Jake Hand accounted for two of six hits for the Salukis on Wednesday night, going 2 for 4 with one RBI and one run scored.

SIU (9-7) will have Thursday off before traveling to Champaign to play two games against Toledo and two games against the University of Illinois this weekend. The first game of the four-game weekend is scheduled for 12 p.m. Friday against Toledo at Illinois Field.

Sports writer Denton “Gio” Giovenco can be reached at dgiovenco@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter @DentonGiovenco.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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