Saluki baseball takes opening series 2-1 over Warhawks

While it was not able to recreate 2021’s 14-0 start, the 2022 SIU baseball team opened the year with a three-game road series win over the University of Louisiana Monroe.

On opening day, it was junior Ben Chapman engaged in a pitcher’s duel against ULM’s Cam Barlow. Both aces went seven scoreless innings, but both left the game in a 0-0 deadlock.

Junior Matthew Steidl, who got the win in relief in the season opener in 2021, came in relief of Chapman, but gave up the go-ahead run in his only inning of work as the Warhawks small-balled their way to a 1-0 win.

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Infielder Kaeber Rog, a junior college transfer, got two of SIU’s four total hits in his Saluki debut on Friday.

The Salukis rebounded in a big way, crushing the Warhawks in Game 2 on Saturday with a 7-run eighth inning to pick up their first win 11-3.

SIU put up 11 runs on 14 hits and 10 walks. Sophomore first-baseman Jeremy Schork, a transfer from Purdue, led the team with three hits, while junior infielder Cody Cleveland and senior outfielder J.T. Weber each reached base safely four times.

Junior Mike Hansell came away with the pitching win, throwing three scoreless innings in relief of starter Noah Farmer.

Sunday’s rubber match was a back-and-forth slugfest that saw four different ties. Ultimately, Southern Illinois took a two-run lead in the top of the seventh, and held on to win 10-9.

Outfielder Pier-Olivier Boucher, a junior college transfer, and Weber combined for seven RBIs. They, along with senior Grey Epps, had multi-hit games on Sunday. Boucher and Schork hit the first two home runs of the season.

Jordan Bloemer started the game, but he and Steidl in relief combined to allow four runs over 3.1 innings. Senior Trey McDaniel took the mound in a dirty fifth inning, and despite giving up four runs – only one of which was earned – he earned the win by being the Salukis’ pitcher during the final go-ahead rally.

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In the bottom of the seventh, Jake Combs came in for his first appearance of the season. Combs put together a nine-out save, which was nearly jeopardized by a Warhawks ninth-inning rally. Although he allowed one run in the final frame, Combs stranded the potential game-tying run at first.

The Salukis (2-1) will play a mid-week game on Tuesday in Clarksville, Tenn. against Austin Peay (2-1), and finish their opening road trip with a weekend series at Central Arkansas (1-2).

Staff reporter Brandyn Wilcoxen can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Brandyn_2020. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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