Salukis blast ‘Breds

Salukis blast ‘Breds

By Demario Smith-Phipps

The Saluki baseball team scored early and often in a 7-2 victory Tuesday over Murray State at Abe Martin field.

SIU tallied two runs in the first inning off of Murray State pitcher Tim Vonder Haar. Saluki junior infielder Ryan Casillas assisted in the preemptive offensive surge as he smoked an RBI single down the middle, just outside the thoroughbred shortstop and second baseman’s .

The Saluki’s successful first inning set the stage for an explosive day at-bat for SIU as it amassed 10 hits total.


SIU coach Ken Henderson said his player’s’s patience with pitches resulted in solid contact on the ball.

“We have been playing a little bit better lately,” he said. “Today we got a lot of quality (at-bats). Hopefully, this will allow the guys to get more confident.”

Junior pitcher Brad Drust pitched well despite going just four innings. Drust gave up three hits, no earned runs and retired four in a limited start. He struck out the last two batters he faced in the third inning and forced an infield pop up from Thoroughbreds’ freshman outfielder Taylor Mathews to end the fourth inning after he allowed the two previous batters to reach base.

Drust was pulled in the fifth after Murray State sophomore catcher Rick Linton hit a single to the outfield and  Thoroughbreds’ senior outfielder Paul Ritzheimer was walked by Drust to put a runner in scoring position. Saluki freshman Anthony Shimkus was then called from the bullpen. A Murray State sacrifice bunt allowed the runners to advance to second and third, but Shimkus kept his composure on the mound. He got out of the situation by forcing an infield pop up for the second out and a right field fly ball to end the inning.

Although the Thoroughbreds were granted six walks by SIU, Murray State was unable to score consistently and left runners on bases multiple times. The Thoroughbreds’ first run came in the seventh inning as the team narrowed the score 3-1.

When it appeared that Murray State might have gained some momentum, the Saluki bats increased their advantage. Senior catcher Luke Mottashed hit a seventh inning 2-run homerun off of Thoroughbreds’ senior relief pitcher Will Handlin.  His homerun led a four-run seventh, and the Salukis were up 7-1 going into the eighth inning. Mottashed said he used what he learned in the offseason to help the team get a much needed win.

“I hit the ball well, and it felt good. I went back to what I was doing in the fall,” he said. “We got swept by Indiana State, so we really had to have this one.”


SIU travels to Evansville, Ind., Friday to face the Purple Aces as the Salukis work toward a winning record.