SIU baseball starts season undefeated with 3-0 record

Pitcher+Blake+Begner.+Photograph+courtesy+of+SIU+Athletics.

Will Becque/SIU Athletics

Pitcher Blake Begner. Photograph courtesy of SIU Athletics.

SIU baseball won their first three games at a round robin-style tournament hosted by Jacksonville State.

Friday, Feb. 19

The Saluki baseball program won their season opener on Friday 8-7 with a win over the hosts Jacksonville State

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SIU scored their first run of the season on a steal of home by senior infielder Nick Neville in the first inning. Jacksonville State responded by tying up the game in the bottom of the inning. 

SIU then took the lead on a homerun from sophomore outfielder Vinni Massaglia in the 4th inning. Senior catcher Austin Ulick then added a two run double to give the Salukis a 4-1 lead after four innings. 

A home run by the Gamecocks cut the score to 4-2 going into the seventh inning. 

The seventh inning was a wild one, as the Salukis extended their lead to 8-2 on a three run double by Phillip Archer. But Jacksonville State was able to add five runs in the bottom half of the inning. 

Neither team was able to add another run at that point. Sophomore pitcher Matthew Steidl picked up the win and junior Trey Mcdaniel got the save. 

Saturday, Feb. 20

SIU advanced to 2-0 with a 4-3 win over Tennessee Tech on Saturday.

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The Salukis went down in the third inning, but were able to respond and tie it up at one in the bottom half of the inning after a double from sophomore infielder Cody Cleveland. 

Tennessee Tech took the lead back with a two-run homerun from senior outfielder Cody Littlejohn in the fourth inning. 

In the bottom of the fifth, the Salukis drew closer after Neville scored on a wild pitch. 

Then, after escaping a bases loaded jam in the top of the sixth, SIU took the lead in the bottom half. Massaglia walked to open the inning and then after Tech recorded two outs junior infielder Grey Epps tripled home Massaglia. 

Junior catcher Tony Rask then scored Epps on a single to give the Salukis a 4-3 lead. 

The Salukis held onto that lead the rest of the way, junior Right hander Noah Farmer picked up the win on a four inning relief appearance and closed out the game. 

Sunday, Feb. 21

The Salukis finished off the weekend with a 13-1 win on Sunday against Alabama State.

The final proved to be no problem for the Salukis as they quickly opened up to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. RBI singles from junior outfielder J.T. Weber and Neville scored those runs. 

SIU extended the lead in the second inning by adding another pair of runs on an error and another Weber RBI. 

There was no more scoring until the sixth inning, when Archer added to the lead with a solo home run. Ulick made it 7-0 later in the inning on a two-RBI single. 

The Salukis added six over the final three innings and lost the shutout in the ninth inning. 

Sophomore right hander Ben Chapman picked up the win after six shutout innings. 

The Salukis will look to keep up their hot start on Tuesday, Feb. 23 when they play Austin Peay in Tennessee. First pitch for that game will be at 5 p.m. 

Sports reporter Ryan Scott can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @RyanscottDE. 

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