Baseball Sweeps homestand with offensive explosion vs Western Illinois; wins 14-5

By Joseph Bernard, Staff Reporter

The Saluki Baseball team capped off their first homestand of the season with a one-game matchup against Western Illinois on Tuesday. They took the match easily with a huge offensive explosion early and a final score of 14-5.

Highlighting the offensive dominance for the Salukis was outfielder J.T Weber, who went two for five in his at-bats with both of his hits being homers. Weber scored three RBIs off the home runs. Center Fielder Jack Rigoni nailed three RBIs as well off his two hits in four at-bats, both of them being doubles.

The first inning couldn’t have started better for the Salukis as they jumped out to a six-run lead in their first turn to bat. Starting Pitcher Ben Riffe got out of the first without allowing a run across the plate and that set up for a five-hit first inning that forced the Bulldogs to substitute pitchers before even getting the third out.


The second would find the Salukis adding to their lead by one with Weber’s homer to left field, making for a 7-0 start.

The third would give the Salukis some difficulty as Riffe started with a walk, allowed a hit, and threw a wild pitch to allow a man on second before recording an out. Riffe did record his first out of the inning with a grounder to second but would allow the first run of the game on an RBI single to left-center to score the runner on second. Luckily, the damage was done there as Riffe would get his third out on a swinging strikeout to end the inning.

Riffe’s struggles would continue into the fourth as he allowed another two walks to start before getting a grounder to third for his first out. An RBI single to left field for the Bulldogs would give them another run and make it 7-2 in the fourth and that was it for Riffe as he was substituted for junior Jordan Gould afterward.

Gould would get his first batter to line into a 6-4 double play end the top of the fourth. He would continue his dominance in the fifth for a clean 1-2-3 inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, SIU would add even more to their lead. Sophomore Nathan Bandy would reach off a dropped fly ball and advanced to second. Later, senior Christian Grey-Epps would send Bandy home off a single, and junior Ryan Rodriguez would send him home off a home run to left-center. Junior Kaeber Rog would add a homer of his own next making for an 11-2 ballgame in the fifth.

After an inning and a half more, the score was 13-5 in SIU’s favor Weber blasted his second home run of the day in the bottom of the seventh making for the 14th run scored for the Salukis. A clean eighth and ninth innings by junior Payton Tinkler and sophomore Jeremy Schork secured the win for the Salukis as well as left the homestand sweep with another win.

SIU will attempt to continue their dominant run with another road trip friday to Little Rock Arkansas to face the Trojans. First pitch is set for 3 p.m on Friday and they’ll close out the three game-series on Sunday.


Sports reporter Joseph Bernard can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @Jojobernard2001.

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