Saluki baseball hasn’t played well in mid-week games all season, but coach Ken Henderson said he’s hopeful that will change.
“It’s tough. You get this late in the year, and with the conference games, there’s just so much emphasis on the three-game weekend,” Henderson said. “Sometimes you forget about how important these games our, too. It shouldn’t happen, but it does.”
The Salukis (18-18, 5-4 Missouri Valley Conference) will try to change that trend when they face Tennessee-Martin (10-25, 4-8 Ohio Valley Confernence) Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Abe Martin Field. SIU is 2-6 this season in mid-week games,.
“It’s kind of unexplainable,” junior first-baseman Chris Serritella said. “Mid-week games are kind of laid back, even though we get the sense that you shouldn’t take it that way.”
One of SIU’s mid-week losses was a 9-4 loss to Tennessee-Martin on Feb. 21 that junior outfielder Jordan Sivertsen said the team hardly remembers because of how early it was in the season. SIU’s two wins during the week were against Middle Tennessee State March 7 and Murray State April 3.
Junior left-hander Nathan Dorris (4-3, 5.77 ERA) will make his second mid-week start after Henderson removed him from the weekend rotation.
“You never want to lose a weekend spot, because that’s the pinnacle of college baseball as far as pitching goes,” Dorris said. “It stinks, but you just got to work hard.”
Dorris said he needs to be more consistent keeping pitches down in the strike zone, because when he was struggling, he left too many pitches up that would get hammered by opposing hitters.
He lost his last start against Southeast Missouri State even though he struck out a season-high nine batters in seven innings pitched. Dorris gave up four runs, three earned in the 4-1 loss.
Opposing Dorris and the Salukis on the mound for the Skyhawks will be senior right-hander Danny Kelley (0-2, 9.18 ERA). Kelley has started two games this season, with his last start coming Feb. 21 in a loss to Butler.
SIU goes into today with a five-game losing streak, and they’ve lost their last three games against Tennessee-Martin dating back to last season.